Cognitive Learning Theory
The epistemological foundation of Cognitivism is Rationalism. Reason is the primary source of valid and reliable knowledge. Sensory experience is interpreted by structures of the mind.
The rationalist epistemology guides the focus on the study of learners’ knowledge structures as a meaningful unit of analysis. It is possible to detach the learner from the environment, thus supporting a dualistic view. Learning theories within this perspective focus on the organization of the information to facilitate its acquisition by the learner, (Schuh and Barab, p. 77)
Cognition is the activity of knowing: "The acquisition (construction), organization, and use of knowledge” (Neisser, 1976, p. 1)
Cognitivism came out of the 1950’s. This theory focuses on the mind and its role in the process of learning. “The focus on mind, in which the mind was viewed as an information-processing system as exemplified by the mind-as-computer metaphor that emerged, sought an understanding of the organization, encoding, and retrieval of knowledge,” (Schuh and Barab, p. 73)
Behaviorism and Cognitivism are both primary objective, and the world is real and external to the learner, (Ertmer and Newby, 1993).
Cognitive constructivism is aligned with the work of Jean Piaget.
Schuch and Barab:
With its realist roots, cognitive constructivism supports tha the world exists, with learning proceeding from an individuals uniquely and individually constructed interpretation of that world. As with cognitivists, the rationalist epistemology provides for the importance of the development of cognitive structures; however, in contrast to the cognitive view, the information is not prestructured and presumed to be mapped into an individuals mind
Piaget’s theory components consist of schemes/schemata which are constantly changing and developing. Schema is a the idea and structure humans make up about different topics or objects. For example, when one hears the word “ranch” some might think of a large amount of land, with animals and acreage. Others might imagine the dressing that goes on salads. When encountering a new problem or situation, an individual attempts to assimilate the problem into an existing schema. Absence of the correct schema leads to disequilibrium. If the learner cannot assimilate the problem because it does not fit into the existing schema, the learner must accommodate to this and a new schema will occur. The state of active learning leads the learning to equilibration.
Cognitive Learning Theories tend to use the Information Processing Theory to develop foundations for learning theories. Information Processing relates the mind to a computer and states that both humans and computers have inputs and outputs. Inputs are transformed so they can be put into use, and the information is stored in either long term or short term memory.
Atkinson and Shiffrin Dual Store Model: