Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cognitivism in Practice

According to Dr. Michael Orey, Cognitive Learning Theories focus on the mental processes and are made up of four components: Limited short term/working memory, Elaboration, Dual coding, and the Network model of memory (Laureate Education, Inc, 2011). There are many different cognitive tools and instructional strategies that we can use to activate these components, that are necessary for storing information into the long term memory. Two of the instructional strategies that I want to focus on are, "Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers" and “Summarizing and Note Taking " (Pitler et al , 2007). Both of these strategies relate to the Cognitive Learning Theory because they are strategies that are used for teaching for understanding or comprehension of material, which we know is a mental process and can be linked to the four components of the Cognitive Learning Theory.

When using the cues, questions, and advance organizers strategy, you are helping the students make connections through the use of verbal cues and questions, visual images, and interactive experiences, which in turn will help them to be able to store that information into their long term memory. An excellent tool to use is concept mapping. This is a great visual for the students to organize information. They are interacting with the information, sythesizing it, and creating those meaningful connections. There are many other technological programs that can be used for this strategy, concept mapping is just one example.

Summarizing and Note taking is another very powerful strategy that can be used to aid comprehension and understanding. In one of Dr. Orey's articles (Orey, 2001), he describes a scenario where a student takes a virtual field trip and records his thoughts and experiences using a multimedia journal. This is an example of how he can summarize and take notes on his field trip. He could have also blogged about his thoughts and experiences. Higher level thinking skills are evident in this type of activity because the student had to understand and apply his knowledge in analyzing, evaluating, and creating his journal entry. Being able to use these higher level thinking skills directly correlates with Cognitive Learning Theories. There are many other great ways to summarize and take notes, all of which can deepen understanding. In fact, both of the strategies I have discussed, are excellent ways to deepen understanding and isn't that, as teachers, our goal for our students?

 Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Crystal Moyer

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