Cognitivism and Behaviorism
Cognitive information processing is not a single stand alone theory. It is a generic description applied to theoretical perspectives dealing with the sequence and execution of cognitive events. According to Ormrod, Schunk and Gredler this can be seen as scientific discipline whereas cognitive information processing is influenced advances in communications and computer technology. So we need to look at cognition being a series of mental processes. To understand the concept of information processing theorists have broken it down to four major components: attention perception, short-term-memory STM) or working memory (WM) and long-term-memory. Putting these processes into an educational context many understandings of the information processing needed to be reviewed as all learning involves forming associations between stimuli and response. Forming the association between the acquisition of information and the storage is essential to any learning process. However the information processing theory deals more with the mental processing that takes place, rather than with the stimuli of external impact and the response to it within the learning process. Humans select and pick out relevant information, they rehearse the information and start putting this gained information into context from previous acquired knowledge and constructing a meaning to the information being processed.
The topic is indeed very complex as Bill Kerr tries to shed some light on all the learning theories in his blog entry. He points out the use of _isms, basically giving the child a name. The interesting discussion point here is which of these theories apply? Is there one big theory to tackle any learning material?
„What I have noticed is that these _isms do not stand still. They evolve; they listen to criticism and move on. I’ve also noticed that learning theorists, who have a different favorite _ism to mine, might still come up with significant findings in their empirical studies that I find hard to reject or ignore. So, although it is possible to make perfectly valid criticisms of Skinner’s behaviorism or the theoretical foundation of cognitivism that is not the end of the story.“ (Kerr 2007)
He discusses that we use these _isms (cognitivism, behaviorism, constructivism, etc.) to label theses theories. I mean we need to have some sort of name for this. On the other hand these educational learning theories have been evolving rather than opposing each other like we uses to look at them before. These _isms seem to working best when they are complimenting or supplementing each other. Looking at learning strategies from a practical point of view, I believe that a combination of these approaches can work. Like in the field of psychology there are so many different therapies based on different theories. I mean in my days of my studies, Skinner’s behavior theory was the clue to all solutions, after Freud’s analyses being that it all lies in the childhood… and then there came the cognitivists and were we not glad to put some scientific value to all this and jumped right on this wagon. Cognitivism has indeed revolutionized the understanding of information processing in respects to the mental happenings rather than the behavior patterns of humans when subjected to a certain stimuli.
Course Text: Learning Theories and Instruction, Chapter 4, “Cognitive Learning Processes”
Video Program: “Behaviorism and Instructional Design”
Web Article: Standridge, M. (2001). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved fromhttp://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/ index.php?title=Behaviorism
Blog: Bill Kerr: http://billkerr2.blogspot.com/2007/01/ isms-as-filter-not-blinker.html
Karl Kapp: http://www.kaplaneduneering.com/kappnotes/index.php/ 2007/01/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/