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 bubbl.us, 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 http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
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)