Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cognitivism in Practice

Cognitive learning theories center around how we actually learn and remember things as opposed to the behaviorist theories which focus on why, or the motivation behind learning. In order for information to be sent to long-term memory and then remembered or retrieved when needed, connections need to be made. The more connections to a piece of infomation, the the more ways we have of retrieving it. Technologies such as word processing applications, concept maps, wikis, blogs, podcasts, virtual field trips, are all ways of helping students make multiple connections to the concepts they are learning. These strategies take advantage of episodic memory as students can connect the actual experiences of creating and being involved in their learning to the information teachers want them to remember. They also help provide students with visual connections. I think the biggest advantage to having such a variety of technologies available is that it allows students to make connections that work for them. Teachers can give students access to these tools and instruction in how to use them and then let students gradually become more and more responsible for their own learning by finding out what works for them.

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