Cognitive Learning Theory - Examples And Process

14 March 2023
Library Management System

How do we improve the functionality or outcome of a technique? The answer lies in exploring different ways to alter the technique and implementing methods to reach its full potential. We can say the same for learning and teaching strategies; in order to enhance instructional practices and elevate learning habits, we need to know the ‘’hows and whys’’ of information retention processes.

And that is where the cognitive learning process comes into the picture; cognition is the brain’s ability to absorb and retain information through experiences, senses and thought. In fact, teachers often facilitate exercises conducive to engaging learners, enabling them to learn in a dynamic environment. As a result, the learning process goes far beyond intaking information passively, helping develop students into knowledgeable and self-aware individuals.

What is Cognitive Learning Theory?

Cognitive learning theory points out that internal and external factors are critical in influencing an individual’s mental processes to amplify learning. Furthermore, Psychologist Jean Piaget developed the first cognitive psychology theories in the 1930s. Besides, he put forward his theory relying on his work which primarily dealt with infants and young children.

His research and writings highlighted that human beings not only react to the things around them but also process and store information related to those things.

Processes of Cognitive Learning Theory

Cognitive Learning Theory
  • Perception

It refers to the initial step of recognizing the environment and processing the particular information during a complex or simple task.

  • Concept formation

Concept formation is critical in helping individuals understand and organize information accordingly.

  • Memory

It is the foundation of the cognitive learning process because it relates to individuals storing and recovering information that they have previously learned.

Furthermore, it is beyond short-term or long-term memory; it focuses on establishing an environment that would help master a concept and relate to their prior experiences.

  • Application

The application part of cognitive learning encourages the implementation of new information and skills in real-life situations. Moreover, this component helps to develop problem-solving skills, which is immensely useful in varied scenarios.

6 Examples of Cognitive Learning

Cognitive Learning

1. Explicit Learning

Explicit learning occurs when one purposely seeks knowledge to learn a new skill or technique to enhance their academic journey. For instance, when teachers use unique methods to break down a complex topic and help them understand it easily. Likewise, students also adopt strategies to improve their learning mechanisms.

However, explicit instruction is connected to explicit learning, and a lot of work goes into streamlining the former. For instance, it includes a series of instructional behaviors that increases the likelihood of student achievement. Hence, it focuses on teaching skills, vocabulary terms, concepts, etc.; meanwhile, it is essential to sequence skills according to complexity levels.

2. Implicit Learning

Implicit learning happens when students gain new knowledge or learn new skills while being unaware of it. In fact, this type of learning occurs in the absence of conscious awareness; for instance, one can be weak at typing on the keyboard, but with proper practice, one becomes proficient in typing without looking at the keyboard.

Furthermore, implicit learning can be integrated into the classroom environment; for example, when teachers provide assignments or group projects, students need to work together. Besides, the team members must work together and participate equally, being patient enough to hear others is pivotal.

As a result, they develop social skills, a collaborative mindset, evolved thinking, and problem-solving ability, enabling students to fulfill the cognitive learning objective.

3. Meaningful Learning

Meaningful learning is perhaps the most common cognitive learning example that we find in the classroom; it happens when students acquire new information and relate it to past experiences. Moreover, the entire aim of education will be pointless if it does not encourage students to make informed decisions based on existing and newly obtained information.

Besides, meaningful learning takes place when classroom and instructional techniques align to promote student learning outcomes. Hence, the aim is to encourage students to use the information strategically to solve problems and implement them in practical situations.

For example, teachers can facilitate meaningful learning by including discussion sessions and presentations. Also, they can use various technological tools, including various visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning aids. As a result, it becomes easier for them to explain difficult subjects and stimulate an interest in students.

4. Discovery Learning

Monotony and mechanized learning go hand in hand if the classroom sessions do not present students with challenges. Also, the traditional classroom structure that heavily relied on passive student learning is one of the main reasons why students lack motivation. Hence, discovery learning is an innovative approach that urges learners to take charge of their learning journey.

Discovery learning is a student-centered technique that allows students to explore and experience to understand and relate to it. Furthermore, teachers provide them with a task or problem, and students are required to research and find the solution independently. However, teachers must prepare a well-organized and flexible system and ensure sufficient resources to support the students.

5. Experiential Learning

The word ‘’experiential’’ comes from experience; embedding it within teaching methodology helps to facilitate a unique learning system. According to experiential learning, students actively participate in classroom activities and get hands-on experience with core concepts. As a result, theoretical studying takes a backseat, and learners engage with the content or material in practical contexts.

So, naturally, note-taking or studying subject materials is secondary to this approach; instead, learners get to gain real-time experience through experiments, field trips, research activities, etc.

6. Emotional Learning

The objective of educational institutes is not just to train students through theoretical approaches and help them store and maintain knowledge. On the contrary, the objective has been to prepare civilized individuals with a set of skills to function aptly. In addition, their overall development is equally noteworthy; hence, personality development is one of the crucial cognitive outcomes in this regard.

Moreover, efficient educational processes go beyond academics and emphasize personal growth, so when they face competition in the job market or difficult situations in life, they are able to deal with them accordingly. Therefore, it is only fitting to say that emotional learning is vital because it helps learners to manage their emotions and not let it consume them at various points in life.

In Conclusion

Cognitive learning theory highlights the crucial elements of knowledge storage and reception, and it helps to determine how it can be used to learn new skills. Moreover, with the help of varied strategies, one can attain better learning management and boost confidence levels.

Poonam Nathani Author :

Poonam Nathani,

Academic Consultant

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