As the name suggests, the Cognitive Learning Theory (CLT) focuses on thought. It’s the theory that’s all about understanding human thought and how the brain responds as people learn. The CLT is also concerned with how information is processed by the brain, and how learning occurs through that internal processing of information.
Origin & History of cognitive learning theory
Development of the CLT is credited to Educational Psychologist, Jean Piaget, and is useful in the analysis of the relationship between mental processes and factors, both internal and external. Coined in 1936, Piaget developed the CLT to suggest that knowledge is something that is actively constructed by learners based on previously-learned knowededge.
Contrary to behaviorist theory,the CLT pays attention to what the way of the learner’s mind and how it dictates behavior, rather than relying strictly on outward behaviors (or responses).
The cognitive learning process is based on individuals cognitively processing input to result in a behavior. It has been found that mental processes include a multitude of elements, including:
- Forming generalizations.
Fig. 1. The Peak Performance Center
The theory is broken down into two further cognitive theories of learning: the Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). So, what’s the difference?
Founder of Cognitive Theory
Being a Swiss developmental psychologist, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development works on the development of human intelligence. In his studies, Piaget reveals findings about the nature of knowledge and how, from this, humans are able to grasp and utilise it. Piaget concluded that it is false to say that children are like little adults, instead suggesting that children just think and communicate differently.
Cognition refers to the mental process of absorbing and retaining knowledge. Further, it encompasses the ability to understand through thought, experience and sense. Cognitive learning refers to active and long-lasting learning. This is type of learning is generally very engaging, immersing learners in various processes, maximising brain productivity, leading to learning new things.
Cognitive Learning Theory Definition
Cognitive Behavioral Theory refers to the role of cognition in the behavioral pattern of individuals. By formulating self-concepts of the individual’s own accord, their behavior is directly affected. The concepts can be based on extrinsic or intrinsic factors, both positive or negative.
The Cognitive Triadis a major component of CBT, further dissecting how negative thoughts impact human behavior.
- The Self
- The World/Environment
- The Future.
What are the three main cognitive learning theories?
There are three main cognitive theories. In the Dual Coding Theory approach, it is believed that we learn through two cognitive systems: verbal and nonverbal. We receive verbal and nonverbal stimuli through our sensorimotor systems (visual, auditory, taste, smell, emotion) and associate these stimuli with words or memories. The Cognitive Load Theory suggests that there is a set amount of information that can be remembered at a time and suggests ways to maximize the mind’s productivity by minimizing distracting information. In the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning, the overarching principle is that we learn more effectively from words and pictures than from words alone.
What is the main idea of cognitive learning theory?
The main assumption of cognitive theory is that thoughts are the primary determinants of emotions and behavior. The cognitive approach to learning believes that internal mental processes can be scientifically studied. It is centered on the mental processes by which the learner takes in, interprets, stores, and retrieves information. It compares the functioning of a human mind to that of a computer, in how it processes and reacts to information. Essentially, the cognitive theory believes that in order to understand behaviour, it is necessary to first understand what happens in the brain to cause such behaviour.
Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
In the Social Cognitive Theory, three factors are taken into account:
- Behavioural factors
- Environmental factors (extrinsic)
- Personal factors (intrinsic).
Fig. 2. Three Factors of SCT (Pajares, 2002)
The combination of all three factors results in an effective learning experience. It also includes various basic concepts which manifest in the learner.
- Observational Learning: This type of learning refers to the ability of individuals to gain knowledge through the observation of others’ behaviour.
- Reproduction: Increasing the repetition of a behaviour increases the chance of greater knowledge retention. This is achieved through putting the learner in a comfortable environment with relevant and easily accessible materials to learn and practice.
- Self-Efficacy: This occurs when newly absorbed knowledge is put into practice.
- Emotional Coping: Effective coping mechanisms in stressful situations are useful for successful learning.
- Self-Regulatory Capability: This refers to the ability of individuals to control behavior in a potentially unfavorable environment.
Cognitive Learning Theory in the Workplace
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