Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

Cognitive learning involves the mind processing various types of information. Dr. Orey describes this information processing model in four steps: sensory input of information, short term memory, rehearsal, and long term memory (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Input of information is best done through the use of multiple senses because this incorporates the different learning levels of our students. It is important to remember that a large amount of information can be challenging to understand.  Advance organizers can assist students in their learning. Concept mapping is one example of this.  It gives learners a chance to visualize ideas and make connections between them.

One skill that can help students process their information is efficient summarizing and notetaking. Students often feel that every piece of information should be written down.  It is important that they learn how to effectively delete information that is not necessary.  By doing this, students can summarize information that is rather lengthy, and provide themselves with more efficient notes. This skill can be taught and reinforced with the help of teacher prepared notes, outlines, or teacher questions that focus on the important elements of the lesson. The use wikis or blogs opens the door for collaboration between students. They can communicate amongst each other and contribute to the learning of their peers.

The ultimate goal of the information processing model is to develop the long term memory of our students. To obtain this, reinforcement of concepts is critical.  The use of cues focuses on the ideas that students will be learning.  Questioning students will help to initiate their memory and provide access to prior knowledge that may be helpful when understanding new topics. Combining the two strategies is helpful when developing short term and long term memory.

In order to teach for understanding, teachers must teach the basic skills of summarizing and notetaking.  By providing cues and questions, students are able to synthesize the information they have learned and connect it to what they will be learning. The more we can create connections for our students, the easier it is for concepts to become part of their long term memory. Virtual field trips provide another method for connecting students to their learning. By having the opportunity to visualize an idea, more concrete memories are developed. Cognitive learning tools will not only enhance summaries and notes, but will connect students to their learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program five. Cognitive learning theory
[Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Program six. Spotlight on technology:
Virtual field trips [Webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom
instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

1 comment:

  1. After completing my concept map, I realize what a great tool this is for my students. It is also very helpful for a teacher who is planning a lesson. I was able to organize an entire unit with this map, which includes links to videos and a virtual tour. This is a great cognitive learning resource to help students organize information and build connections to different areas of learning.