Cognitivism

Cognitive Psychologists may have become somewhat dissatisfied due to what Winn (2004) says is a great deal of the research and practice of educational technology continues to operate within the traditional framework.” This research has lead to new discoveries in the field. One of these discoveries Winn (2004) cites is evidence in biological research that suggests that the central nervous system is closed and cognitive activity in the mind is prompted by the environmental actions. Because cognitive psychologists believe that “there is both a physical and phenomenological separation between the mental and physical world,”, this research is challenging assumptions in their theory. This is but one way to answer the question of the dissatisfaction. In other words, many are now believing that how we think, learn, and act has much to do with our environmental interactions and experiences that we encounter, which is much different from beliefs that cognition in the brain occurs separately from environment.

I think technology has somewhat enhanced dissatisfaction with these theories in a number of ways. One way is likely the visual information that is readily available through technology. Students that are engaging regularly in media on the Internet, phone, or elsewhere lends weight to learners becoming jaded. Technology itself has made some of the newer research findings possible, so in that regard, another way that the increased use of technology has enhanced dissatisfaction with these theories is that the very nature of technology makes new discoveries possible, thus making older theories in need of updating. One final way that some have found dissatisfaction is because cognitive theories seemed to call for provisions of ways that learners should be provided in order to enhance their processing of that information. Now that so much information is readily available through the Internet and World Wide Web, it seems that learners really need to use the information that suits them best. As Winn (2004 stated, scholars have made persuasive arguments that the value of the knowledge we build lies not in its closeness to any ideal or correct understanding of the external world, but to how it suits our own individual needs and guides our own individual actions.

In my practice, I think cognitive processing theories are still very relevant and a key consideration in how I design materials for use with instructors and students where I work. While I tend to ignore kinesthetic practices on a regular basis, I do make sure that I present or provide opportunities for hands on practice of what I teach as well as a pictoral model of the information I’m trying to convey. I use images, clip art, videos, and record my voice (or others) that are readily available on the web today. I allow learners to choose which way they would like to receive information before I send it their way. I also provide training materials both as visual/auditory in a video and as a step by step document. This allows our instructors or students to choose a path that will suit their own learning style and ways they process information best.

Winn, W. (2004). Cognitive perspectives in psychology. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology

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