Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facilitating Cognitive Learning Theories

How can educators use cognitive tools to facilitate engaging lessons?  This question has motivated me to explore various resources that can assist educators in their facilitation of instructional strategies that correlate with cognitive learning theories.
Cognitive Learning Theory addresses how information is processed in the brain.  Educators must understand the three stages of information processing to effectively integrate appropriate cognitive tools that will enhance learning.   Dr. Orey discussed importance of educators understanding the transition Short term memory is limited and based on how much the learner can learn at one time. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011) Adding a visual or auditory resource such a virtual field trip or Brainpop video link added to a blog post would allow facilitators to manage the amount of information given.  Thus, avoiding overloading students' with excessive information that can't exceeds the limits of their short-term.
Another effective instructional strategy that enhances the ability for students to retrieve information involves the use of cues, questions, and advance organizers.  “Cues are explicit reminders or hints about what students are about to experience.” (Marzano) Both cues and questions are effective learning tools even when asked before a learning experience.  Graphic organizers, powerpoint, and Microsoft word software are cognitive tools that allow clear presentation of information.  Implementing such lessons will enable information to be presented in a meaningful and appropriate way. 
Cognitive tools that allow students to organize their knowledge would be another effective instructional strategy for educators to use in transferring information.  Spreadsheets and online software such as, allow students to analyze cause-and-effect relationships.   Novak and Canas (2006), concept mapping is a powerful tool “for the facilitation of meaningful learning” and for how “it serves as a kind of template or scaffold” in the organization and structure of knowledge.
The transition from short/working memory to long-term memory requires an understanding of Network Model of Memory and the relationship of how ideas are collaboratively connected.  Dr. Orey explained how Paivio's Dual-Coding Hypothesis  Theory "allows visual and verbal association." (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011)  In this hypothesis, it is believed that when corresponding pictures and sounds were paired, the retention associated with long-term memory was higher than if the pictures or sounds were presented alone. "Thus, the dual coding theory can be applied to the storage and remembering of pictures and sounds in addition to pictures and words." (Thompson & Paivio, 1994)
Integrating technology is seen as an enhancement and integral part of the cognitive learning.  As educators, we must continuously explore research-based theories and embrace the role of technology in education and training and the benefits that technology will provide in our facilitation of effective and engaging instructions that will enrich, engage and increase our students understanding and learning opportunities. 
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from
Thompson, V., & Paivio, A. (1994)._ Memory for pictures and sounds:_Independence of auditory and visual codes. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 48, 380-398.
 Novak, Joseph D. & Alberto J. Cañas (2006). The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them, Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, HTML (PDFs also available)


  1. I agree wholeheartedly that technology is truly the best way to achieve cognitive learning. I utilize technology on a daily basis in my classroom and while of course there are certain negatives (such as students trying to utilize the internet, playing computer games, etc.) they are easily corrected and the positives of using technology far outweigh the negatives. I also find that spreadsheets are effective, yet, I must admit that I do not utilize them as often as I should. What I ended up focusing on was the ability to take notes efficiently through the use of Word Processor tools and Wiki pages. I believe that whichever learning tools that were discussed in this week’s readings that one utilizes, it still encourages cognitivism and stimulates the brain, causing the student to become an “active,” learner, opposed to passive. Since we started using the computers in the classroom 8 years ago, I can honestly say that I see a tremendous difference in HOW students are approaching their work—they are much more serious about it and have far less excuses for not having it done! I enjoyed your post! Jenn

  2. I enjoyed reading your post. There was a lot of information this week and your post is a good summary.

    Technology in a math classroom usually refers to a graphing calculator and maybe dynamic geometry software. This week's resources provided us with many different choices for technology that can be used for enhancing student understanding. I found myself quickly getting "lost" as I followed one link to the next.

    I believe the most powerful statement in your post is;
    As educators, we must continuously explore research-based theories
    and embrace the role of technology in education and training and the
    benefits that technology will provide in our facilitation of effective and
    engaging instructions that will enrich, engage and increase our students
    understanding and learning opportunities. (Blackwell, 2011)

    I am really looking forward to the virtual field trip with my geometry students. A whole new way of learning is sometimes uncomfortable but it is usually necessary to continue to grow professionally.

    Good post!


    Blackwell, C. (2011, September 21). Facilitating cognitive learning theories [Blog post]. Retrieved from

  3. Hi, Byron from your Walden class. I really wish someone would tell my why i can't use my google to post on blogs. But anyway, lol

    Wow, I really enjoyed your post. Also, thanks for reminding me about the blog post this week.

    I agree with your post in alot of ways cognitive learning does addresses how information is processed in the brain. Also, the assumption is that humans are logical beings that make the choices that make the most sense to them. Information processing is a commonly used description of the mental process, comparing the human mind to a computer.
    Lastly, whenever students are engaged in learning and retaining that information I am very happy. This is supporting the cognitive learning theory. It is important that we as educators stay update on the information that could help students learn and retain what they learn. Technology is ever changing and improving, therefore we should too.
    Great post!!!