Learning: Cognitive Theory Term Paper

Pages: 14 (5035 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … Learning: Cognitive

Cognitive Theory of Learning

The Cognitive theory of learning states that memory and prior knowledge play active roles in learning, which requires that researcher look beyond different types of behavior to learning that is based in the brain. If memory promotes learning, both long-term and short-term memory will be important and significant to theorists, researchers, and educators focused on cognitive theory where education and learning are concerned.

The major principles associated with this theory involve memory and prior knowledge (experience). What a person experiences, and what he or she remembers about those experiences, shape how that person lives and what he or she learns during his or her time in an educational setting. Instructors must learn how to use this in order to help students learn all they can during a class or other educational experience.

B. There are many theorists who worked to develop the cognitive theory of learning. Three of these theorists are Bode, Baddeley, and Atkinson. Shiffrin should also be included in the list of important theorists, because he worked with Atkinson to great a model that was used by Baddeley and others to show how prior knowledge and memory was more significant in learning than the experiences the person had while learning took place.

C. The mental processes associated with learning are important and significant. The cognitive theory of learning had its beginnings in 1929, when Bode began to use Gestalt techniques to question how learning was undertaken and the views surrounding it. Over time, Bode's work developed into a strong opinion that memory and how memory is used is more important than the experiences people had while they were learning. Primarily, this was due to the different mental processes that are used to remember something as compared to the processes that are used to accept and understand an experience.

D. The cognitive theory of learning is based on Gestalt techniques, and makes use of those to show how people learn information and retain that information. That is where memory comes into the equation, because a person who learns something gets no real value from that learning unless it is retained. In order to retain the learning and be able to use it in the future, memory must be employed by the learner.

E. Permanent change takes place in this theory. Memory is something that is not fixed, as people remember some things and not others. Additionally, both short-term and long-term memory can be improved, damaged, or overloaded with too much stimulation and information. In learning, memory must be used in the proper amount, so all pertinent information is retained.

F. In school, the cognitive theory of learning would require teachers to use techniques to ensure memorization of important facts. In business or church settings, similar issues arise. Church services frequently provide the same information, but they do so in many different ways, allowing the listener to absorb the overall message. Business settings are more focused on the same information, presented the same way, each time. This rote memorization is important for things such as company rules, which remain static and inflexible.

III. Annotated Bibliography

Bates, J.A. (1979). Extrinsic reward and intrinsic motivation: A review with implications for the classroom. Review of Educational Research, 49, 557-576. How students are motivated and what they are given as rewards greatly affects how they respond to stimuli and information they are given. This would seem to show that it is the experience that is important, but that is not necessarily the case. Students must remember the information, be motivated to do so, and feel as though they will be rewarded for remembering, provided they can recite the information as and when requested. By using their memory and being rewarded for that, students lean and retain more information, and they focus on that information to the extent that it stays in their memory even after their reward for memorization has been received.

Buisson, G.J., Murdock, J.Y., Reynolds, K.E., & Cronin, M.E. (1995). Effect of tokens on response latency of students with hearing impairments in a resource room. Education and Treatment of Children, 18, 408-421. Some students have disabilities that require them to be taught in a different way than other children. That does not mean, however, that they cannot remember information and tie it to their prior knowledge that they have already received. The more a person knows and remembers from the past, the more he or she can take that information and put it to work with new information being collected. Rewarding children with disabilities for remembering information is just as important - if not more important - than providing the same kind of feedback for children without disabilities of any kind.

Cameron, J. (2001). Negative effects of reward on intrinsic motivation -- a limited phenomenon: Comment on Deci, Koestner, and Ryan (2001). Review of Educational Research, 71, 29-42. Do children who are rewarded externally focus less on being internally motivated? That is the view of some researchers, at least in certain cases. Not all children have that difficulty, but some appear to struggle with it and find that they are not easily motivated by internal factors if they focus on the external rewards they may receive. Regardless of what interests these children, however, the overall concern is that they are learning and using their memory. Their prior knowledge tells them they will be externally rewarded for doing something, so they continue to do it.

Cameron, J., Banko, K.M., & Pierce, W.D. (2001). Pervasive negative effects of rewards on intrinsic motivation: The myth continues. The Behavior Analyst, 24, 1-44. Rewarding children through external means gives them a reason to lower their intrinsic motivation, in many cases. That is due to the fact that they have no need to consider or want something on an internal level when they are being given something outwardly on which they can focus. They are still learning cognitively, however, because they are using their memory of past events and the prior knowledge they have about a situation to help them determine what comes next - and what comes next is some kind of external reward they can use to feel better about themselves. There are arguments on both sides as to whether this is helping or hurting today's children.

Cameron, J., & Pierce, W.D. (1996). The debate about rewards and intrinsic motivation: Protests and accusations do not alter the results. Review of Educational Research, 66, 39-51. How children learn, and how they learn best are issues that have been addressed for some time. The past opinion was that children learned through the experience of learning. What was taking place around those children during that time was sufficient to ensure that they learned what they should. However, that thinking started to change, and new research came about that addressed the memory of children and how they built their learning off of knowledge they had in the past, as opposed to off of the experience through which they were currently going. That changed the way teachers looked at how to motivate students, and whether intrinsic motivation to learn something was better than an external reward for doing so.

Carton, J.S. (1996). The differential effects of tangible rewards and praise on intrinsic motivation: A comparison of cognitive evaluation theory and operant theory. The Behavior Analyst, 19, 237-255. Cognitive theory and operant theory have been compared in the past. Cognitive theory focuses on the memory of the person and the prior knowledge that person has, as well as how those two things mesh and work together. Operant theory is more about conditioning, in that a person is "trained" to do something in return for getting something else. This kind of training can be done with a person or with an animal, and the results are similar. This leads researchers to believe that intrinsic motivation is lower in students who are taught under a more operant style as opposed to students taught under the cognitive theory of learning.

Cavalier, a.R., Ferretti, R.P., & Hodges, a.E. (1997). Self-management within a classroom token economy for students with learning disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 18, 167-178. Students who have differences in the way they learn, or who have disabilities that can make it more difficult for them to learn, often struggle to keep up with their peers. Sometimes, they have to be taught differently. The use of rewards for learning can often work better for these students, because they do not always have the memory and ability to use their prior knowledge to put together the pieces of the puzzle they need in order to remain focused on what they should be learning. In that case, teaching them how to manage themselves as much as possible and allowing them more operant styles of teaching and learning may serve them better, depending on their disability.

Davidson, P., & Bucher, B. (1978). Intrinsic interest and extrinsic reward: The effects of a continuing token program on continuing nonconstrained preference. Behavior Therapy,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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