Learning Theories (Cognitivism (Cognitivist (Jean Piaget (1936)
- Cognitive psychology is a pure science, based mainly on laboratory experiments.
- Behaviour can be largely explained in terms of how the mind operates, i.e. the information processing approach.
- The mind works in a way similar to a computer: inputting,storing and retrieving - Mediational processes occur between stimulus and response.
- Learning is an inner mental activities.
- Opening the “black box” of the human mind is valuable and necessary for understanding how people learn.
- Knowledge can be seen as schema or symbolic mental constructions.
- Changes in behaviour are observed, but only as an indication of what is occurring in the learner’s headtext
- Cognitive psychology became of great importance in the mid 1950s. Several factors were important in this:
- Dissatisfaction with the behaviorist approach in its simple emphasis on external behaviour rather than internal processes.
- The development of better experimental methods.
- Comparison between human and computer processing of information.
- The arrival of the computer that gave cognitive psychology the terminology and metaphor it needed to investigate the human mind.
- The start of the use of computers allowed psychologists to try to understand the complexities of human cognition by comparing it with something simpler and better understood i.e. an artificial system such as a computer.
Jean Piaget John Dewey 2 developed theories of childhood development and education, what we now call Progressive Education, that led to the evolution of constructivism.
Jean Piaget (1936)
Piaget believed that children go through 4 universal stages of cognitive development.
- The first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development.
- Question the goal of education:
Are we forming children who are only capable of learning what is already known?
Or should we try to develop creative and innovative minds capable of discovery from the preschool age on, through out life?
- Stages of Development
A child's cognitive development is about a child constructing a mental model of the world. Development is biologically based and changes as the child matures.
- 1. Sensorimotor stage (Infancy)
- 2. Pre-operational stage (Toddler and early childhood)
- 3. Concrete operational stage (Elementary and early adolescence)
- 4. Formal operational stage (Adolescence and adulthood).
- Discovery learning – the idea that children learn best through doing and actively exploring - was seen as central to the transformation of the primary school curriculum.
- Post-hoc explanations - “the fact that cognitive load is composed of three different elements that are “good” (germane), “bad” (extraneous), or just there (intrinsic) means that every outcome ﬁts within the theory post-hoc.
- Doubtable additive - intrinsic cognitive load is by itself different from extraneous cognitive load (the first refers to cognitive processes and the second to learning material or representations) and therefore cannot be added to the overall cognitive load.
- Lack of precision in describing concepts such as cognitive load, mental load, and mental effort
- Problems in definitions of each type of cognitive load
- No reliable method for measuring cognitive loadLimitation
research findings (data)
- Cognitive Load Theory Coming Under Withering Attacks
Difference between empirical research findings and the theoretical formulations that human researchers create to explain their findings. To reiterate, we have:
theoretical explanations (rationales that researchers invent)
- Learning is an active process
- Learning is a constructive process.
- Knowledge is constructed, not acquired.
- Socially engaged and create a constructive series of actions.
- Socratic questioning, asked directed questions that led students to realise for themselves the weaknesses in their thinking.
- Knowledge construction is based on personal experiences and the continual testing of hypotheses
- Individual has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process, based on past experiences and cultural factors.
- encourage higher-order thinking skills, eg. reasoning and problem solving.
- New information is linked to prior knowledge.
- Learning is contextualized process of constructing k
- Learner is an information constructor.
- Assumes that all knowledge is constructed from the learner’s previous knowledge, regardless of how one is taught.
Cognitive Constructivism - Jean Piaget (1896 – 1980)
- Piaget rejected the idea that learning was the passive assimilation of given knowledge.
- Instead, he proposed that learning is a dynamic process comprising successive stages of adaption to reality during which learners actively construct knowledge by creating and testing their own theories of the world.
- Although less contemporary & influential, it has inspired several important educational principles such as:
- Discovery learning
- Sensitivity to children’s’ readiness
- Acceptance of individual differences
- Learners don’t have knowledge forced on them – they create it for themselves
- Accomodation and assimilation of experiences.
John Dewey (1859 - 1952)
- Rejected the notion that schools should focus on repetitive, rote memorization & proposed a method of "directed living"
- Students engage in real-world, practical workshops in which they would demonstrate their knowledge through creativity and collaboration.
- Students should be given the opportunities to express their thoughts and think from themselves.
- Dewey called for education to be grounded in real experience. He wrote, "If you have doubts about how learning happens, engage in sustained inquiry: study, ponder, consider alternative possibilities and arrive at your belief grounded in evidence."
- Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1943)
- Social Development Theory
- In contrast to Piaget's beliefs in child development precedes learning, Vygostsky believes social learning precedes development.
- Consciousness and cognition are the end product of socialisation and social behaviour.
- Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), and it's not uncommon for the terms to be used
- the environment in which children grow up will influence how they think and what they think about.
- The more knowledgeable other (MKO) refers to someone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. (peer teaching)
- Both Bruner and Vygotsky emphasise a child's environment, especially the social environment, more than Piaget did.
- Both agree that adults should play an active role in assisting the child's learning.
- Emphasized the social nature of learning, citing that other people should help a child develop skills through the process of scaffolding.
Jerome Seymour Bruner (1915 – 2016)
- Research on the cognitive development of children, Jerome Bruner proposed three modes of representation:
1) Enactive (0 - 1 years)
Action base information (muscle memeory), eg. shaking a rattle.
2) Iconic (1 - 6 years old)
Information is stored visually in the form of images (a mental picture in the mind’s eye).
3) Symbolic (7 years old)
Information is stored in the form of a code or symbol, such as language.
- Bruner (1960) opposed Piaget's notion of readiness. He argued that schools waste time trying to match the complexity of subject material to a child's cognitive stage of development.
- Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned.
- Students interact with the world by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.
Critiques / Limitations
According to David Jonassen, three roles for teachers who use the constructivist learning theory in their class.
Constructivist learning environments, according to Jonassen, should have specific learning goals, where teachers make activities interesting and engaging, but not overly structured. Examples of how teachers could approach learning goals would be having the students answer a specific, open-ended question or a broad issue, examine a case study, undertake a long-term project or examine a problem with multiple projects or cases integrated together.Limitations
- Scaffolding-to provide sufficient support to promote learning when new concepts are introduced.
- Lack of structure as some students require highly structured environment inorder to to be successful.
- no standardized curriculum, in favour or a more personalised course of study based on what the student already knows. This could lead some students to fall behind of others.
- lead students to be confused and frustrated because they may not have the ability to form relationships and abstracts between the knowledge they already have and the knowledge they are learning for themselves.
Kenneth Boulding (1984)
- B.F Skinner's non existence of free-will contradicts Darwin's Theory.
- Darwin believes humans are constantly improving themselves to gain better self-control.
- Pavlovian conditioning and Skinner's operant conditioning are experimented on animals. It is inadequate assumption to equate human and animal to be similar.
- Ignores the existence of biology in regulating human behaviour.
- Operant conditioning are able to explain phobias and neurosis, it is unable to explain the development of human language.
Noam Chomsky (1928 - present)
- Cognitive theory
- Skinner used mainly animals for testing, behavourist does not consider the variables that exist in the behaviour of humans.
- Human's are much more complex creature.
- Behaviourist fails to recognise much needed variables in development, intellectual adeptness, motivation, and skill application.
- Chomsky supports the claim that neural processes taking place in specific parts of the brain are responsible for the development of skills.
- Views on language acquisition is an innate structures of the brain that control the interpretation and production of speech.
- Optimal learning age, 3 - 10
- A child does not need a trigger to acquire language. It happens on its own. Which oppose to behaviourism Skinner's reinforcement and shaping for language acquistion.
John B. Watson (1913)
- Study Philosophy under John Dewey
- Interested in the work by Ivan Pavlov
- Wanted to make psychology scientifically accepted ( Methodological Behaviourism)
Simplified version of classical conditioning
- Experimented on human using Pavlov principles,
- Conditioned 9 month old Albert to fear a white rat.
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour (1958)
B.F Skinner (1948) - Radical Behaviourism
- Influence by Pavlov
- Operant conditioning & shaping (Learning by consequences)
- His operant conditioning theory is built on ideas of Thorndike
- Skinner box (black box)
- Experimental research psychology
- Aligned his theory to Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural selection.
- Natural selection: Character variation exists among individuals and the variation is heritable.
Edward Thorndike (1905)
- Puzzle box
- Associate a sensation and an impulse when its action had a satisfying consequence.
- Law of effect - which states that any behaviour that is followed by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behaviour followed by unpleasant consequences is likely to be stopped.
Ivan Pavlov (1893) - Classical conditioning
- Three stages of classical conditioning,
- experimented with digestive reflexes of dogs
1 Unconditioned Stimuli (UCS) --> Unconditioned Response (UCR)
2 UCS + Neutral Stimuli --> UCR
3 CS ---> CR
- Human and animal can be explained by conditioning.
- Assumes learner is passive.
- Deny any independent thoughts of the learner (Blank state).
- Learners response to environmental stimuli.
- Learners are empty vessels.
- Teacher is the focus and takes dominate control over the classroom.
- Learner has no reflection opportunities.
- A change in behaviour is achieved through using reinforcement and rote learning (memorization through repetition)
Sociocultural Approaches to Learning and Development:
A Vygotskian Framework
- Language - semiotic (signs and symbols, including language) mediation in human development, and
- ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) genetic (developmental) analysis.