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Posted on Nov 9, 2011 in Academic Assignments, Blog, Cognitivism | 0 comments

Neuroscience and Information Processing

Neuroscience and Information Processing

This topic is really interesting, seeing the learning theories in the context of information processing. I have never really consciously thought about these processes, breaking them down into different sections of where and what the brain is actually processing.

Regarding to Dr. Jeanne Ormrod’s video section, “the importance to instructional designers in not really the minute detail of very occurring process, but rather looking at the processing in the bigger picture to the more general questions of what really makes the learner pay more attention to particular details than to others. What kind of meaning is attached to the information and the interpretation of it? The initial thought that humans think like computers has, even in my days (and I am not that old) been used to explain a many thinking processes. Ormrod carries on explain that this is the reason why a many terms of information processing are computer metaphors.

Michael Orey goes to explain this information processing (IP) theory is really about understanding how the information is processed rather than learning how the learning happens. The basic IP theory has the three components:
The sensory register – for example audio and visual this is where the initial information is stored for a short time and is then processed in the short-term memory STM), where the processing is attached to certain occurrences for example, certain information that is already stored in the long-term memory (LTM) are retrieved from the LTM to process in the initial information.

The last stage of IP processing is the long-term memory which in itself is very complex. The actual attachment of things that are happening in regards to the information processed will actually result in better understanding; hence the learning process begins to get a meaning. I think for any instructional designer this stage is really important as we need to understand how the thinking and learning is processed, to identify and create suitable learning materials/courses.
These processes are called Metacognition. Metacognition may take place in the way one learns a certain topic, by to organize and strategize ones time-management, learning with visuals and audios perhaps to supplements readings, etc. and thus storing this in the long term memory too.

This is how I effectively learn. So before I even get to the actual storage of the information, I actually think about my surrounding, organizing my time and what materials I am going to use to get a better understanding of a topic. Even in school I only survived by attaching certain stories to certain topics, for example in history, to remember the dates of the French revolution, for example I did indeed rehearse this to the point of singing the dates backwards. But what actually helped me to put the French revolution into context was to read a novel that played in that time, so the people in the novel actually meant something to me and it helped me remember specific key dates. So the retrieval of the information could actually be picked out in a specific context.

Now looking at what actually happens inside the brain and how and where information is processed helps me get the bigger picture. To understand the central nervous systems helps to create a better understanding of the processing in a biological sense. Where do I store the information and where do I retrieve it?

Interestingly according to Ormrod she talks about encoding a problem, depending on how the encoding is done and can help find the solution. I think here again as, for me as an instructional designer I need to understand how the encoding can help me design a better course for my students. This makes me think about our last week’s discussion about the learning theories that play an important role here as well. The knowledge of the brain and its functions alone will not help me create better learning materials, but rather supplement the strategies involved, in regards to any of the four (behavioral, cognitive, humanistic and social) learning theories, to how I can facilitate any learning skill.

This topic is so complex that I could write forever, but again my personal learning strategies result mainly from Metacognition. The constant self assessment helps me to check upon m own personal progress which eventually (well at least in most cases) lets me solve a complex topic. I cannot really say much about my skills in an examination environment as I haven’t really had that for a long time. Today’s learning involves more communication and interacting especially where I come from in the psychology field. I worked as a school counselor for many years – and I see myself as a solution creator, rather than as problem solver. I think this can help me in creating learning concepts and make them work in an educational setting.


Web Article:

Orey, M. (2001). Information processing. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 2001, from index.php?title=Information

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate Education, Inc, 2009). New York: Pearson Chapter 2, “Learning and the Brain”


Course Materials:

Video Program: “Information Processing and the Brain” (Laureate Education, Inc.).
Video Program: “Information Processing and Problem Solving” (Laureate Education, Inc.).

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