Cognitive Learning Theories are theories that explain learning in terms of changes in the metal structure and processes involved in aquiring, organizing, and using knowledge. Cognitive Process is how information moves from sensory to working memory and then from working memory to a long term memory. In other words the process of thinking. Main parts of Cognitive process are Attention, Perception and Encoding (Imagery, Organization, Schema Activation, and Elaboration)
Attention is the process of consciously focusing on a stimulus. Our attention acts as a screen, allowing us to filter out unimportant information. There are two very important characteristics of attention that are important:
- Attention is limited both in capacity and duration
- Attention easily shifts from one stimulus to another.Any one person's attention is easily distracted.
Attracting and Maintaining Attention
Students attention is crucial to grasp from the very start.There are multiple ways a teacher can make sure to do so:
- Demonstrations: Bringing in a balloon and blowing it up and rubbing it on hair to demonstrate friction
- Discrepant events: Dressing up as Native American when learning about how Indians fought to save land
- Charts: Separating the different animal kingdoms into different sections on chart
- Pictures: Health teacher shows what happens to the lungs over different periods of time if a person smoked
- Problems: Giving students a problem after going over assessment to see if they understand
- Thought- Provoking Questions: Making sure they ask questions or teacher asks them questions to involve students
- Emphasis: Saying these next two questions are going to be very important because they will show up on your test
- Student names : Calling on one specific person in class to make sure paying attention. Should not be the same student each time
Perception is the process people use to find meaning in stimuli.It is the way we interpret objects and events. Perceptions may vary;just because one person views a certain event or object one way does not mean that another person will see it the same way. People's perceptions are constructed or in other words influenced by an outside source besides their own at times. The knowledge learners construct depends on what they already know. Sometimes what they previously know can affect the learner to see things just one certain way when learning new knowledge. It is essential in a classroom for a teacher to makes sure all the students understand and perceive things as they are meant to be understood and do not stray on another path.
Encoding is a process of representing information in long-term memory. This process occurs after learners attend to and perceive information and organize it into working memory.The information can be represented in two different types of forms, either verbally or visually. There are different strategies with encoding. One of the most used, but least effective is rehearsal. This strategy is used most often with remembering factual information, such as studying math facts and specific dates. Though the information is embedded with in the long-term area of the mind, there is nothing connected to it and lacks meaning. Encoding information with more schema (or more relationships) of the information, the more it makes sense. Encoding is responsible for turning what is seen, heard, felt, tasted, or thought into memory; and it is a critical step in one's ability to remember life’s experiences. There are also several different avenues that promote meaningful encoding. Some of which we will talk about, including:
Imagery is defined as the process of forming mental pictures of an idea. It helps you relate and support what you know into something that you will most likely remember. A key factor to that supports this idea is dual- coding theory. This states that long-term memory contains two distinct memory systems: one for verbal information and one that stores images. This is basically saying that thingd that are defiant, such as a ball, flower, or dress; something that you can touch and see, are things that are a lot more easier to remember. Unlike things that you cannot see or touch such as, truth, dignity, or value. Dual-coding theory reminds us of the importance of supplementing verbal information along with visual representations.
Teachers can help students with imagery by:
~ Using pictures.
~ Using diagrams
~ Using transparencies
~ Using a glabe or map
~ Having students draw their own diagrams about what they are learning
Organization is an encoding strategy that involves the clustering of related items of content into categories that illustrate relationships. Organization is valued a lot in promoting learning. Research indicates that experts learn more efficiently than beginners because their knowledge stored in long-term memory is organized better, which allows them to access it and connect it to new information.
There are several ways to help learners organize information:
~ Charts and matricies are useful for organizing large amounts of information into categories
~ Hierarchies are effective when new information can be included under existing ideas
~ Models are helpful for showing relationships that students cannot see right away
~ Outlines are useful when organizing the content in a body of writen material
Other types of organization include the use of: graphs, tables, flowcharts, and maps. Learners can use these organizers as personal study aids when attempting to make the information they are studying meaningful. Classroom interaction is important when making the organization of new material meaningful to learners. Teachers can use these helpful tips to capitalize on imagery with the use of aids that encourage students to form mental pictures of the topics they are studying.
Schema activation is an encoding strategy that involves activating important prior knowledge so that new knowledge can be connected to it. The most effective way of activating students' prior knowledge is to ask them what they already know about a topic. This can be done during class reviews, or by asking them if they can relate to the topic of discussion. Teachers can also use KWL charts. When doing a KWL chart, students write down what they already know about the topic, what they want to know, and what they actually learned. Schema activation is any teaching strategy that helps students connect what they already know to the new knowledge they just gained. These types of connections can result in a deeper understanding of the concepts being taught.
Elaboration is an encoding strategy that increases the meaningfulness of new information by connecting it to existing knowledge Elaborative questioning can be used to help elaboration. Elaborative questioning is the process of drawing inferenced, identifying examples, and forming relationships in the material being studied. Elaboration rehearsal is use of elaboration to remember factual imformation, an example would be if someone remember that 6*9=54 because the sum of the digets in the product of a number times 9 always equals 9 (5+4=9) Two more elaboration strategies are the use of examples and analogies and mnemonics Using examples is one of the most effective ways to promote elaboration Analogies is a description of relationships between ideas that are similar in some but not all respects Mnemonic is memory stategies that creat associations that don't exist naturally in the content an example of this would be an acronym or phrases such as "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally" this helps with remembering the order of opperations (parentheses, exponents, multiplication & division, addition & subtraction)