Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 3 : Cognitive Learning Theory

In sort, the cognitive learning theory basically states that the brain receives informations through sensory input. The information is then transfered to the short term memory and eventually some of the information is then stored in the long term memory. The key to successful learning is providing a multisensory approach to experiencing the new information as well as transfering the information from the short term memory to the long term memory.

When you think of the brain to can think of it like a computer. There are sections where different information is stored. Like a computer, when we have to recall a memory and find the right path to retreive the correct information. Tools like concept maps help students organize the information into like topics to help with the understanding and storing of the information. Technology based programs like Kidspiration or Inspiration are mind mapping or concept mapping tools. Information can be organized acording to the topic at hand. Students can also incorporate photographs or pictures as well as text into the concept maps. This provided a dual coding system that increases the likelyhood that information will be remembered. Through the use of concept maps students are able to focus on essential questions and find supportive information in subtopics to help answer questions and view the bigger picture. Concept maps can be used in all subject areas to guide and support student learning and understanding. Some areas where they could be helpful are to support independent reading (in content area and reading), help develop an outline for a writing assignment, guide notes for class participation, as well as expectations for field trips.

Students are given information through lessons in a variety of fashions: lecture, videos, pictures, discoveries, hands-on-activities, sound bites and the list goes on. From these experiences students are then required to recall the information. Online communication programs like wikis would be a great resource for students to transform and synthsize their classnotes into products that can be shared, modified and corrected. This would be a collaborative task that all students would be responsible for adding to, imporving, and organizing in a logical mannor. Students would also be able to link other helpful sites and import images once again creating a duel coding system.


  1. Kristen,
    You mention that, "Concept maps can be used in all subject areas to guide and support student learning and understanding." I find this to be true when teachers effectively utilize concept maps in their content areas. I find when teaching Reading to sixth graders, these maps are a wonderful tool to have students synthesize their learning. You also mention that the brain is much like a computer. Ater researching this week in class, I couldn't agree with you more. Knowing this, concept maps are like putting your thoughts into a logical, orderly visual. It engages students, and creates a visual representation of what is, or should be, occurring inside the brains of our students.

    Thanks for your insights,

  2. Kristin,
    I like your comparison to the computer and the file pathways. I had this problem with iTunes. I have my music on a remote hard drive and it wasn't plugged in when I started iTunes. iTunes errored stating that the pathway could not be found. Many students have the information but can't find the pathway. These pathways are formed with existing information and information received through the senses.


  3. Kristin,
    I also like concept maps as they help students organize their thoughts. Wolfe (Laureate Education) had mentioned that the brain seeks meaningful patterns. What better way than to use a map of one's thought process.

    Also, the ability to add pictures further aids with retention. The more senses involved, the better the chances for retention.

    Nancy C