Activity 3

Cognitive Family of Learning Theory

If, during your teaching, you offer opportunities to learn in problem-solving settings and try to make learning experiences relevant and meaningful for your students, then you may well have begun to incorporate aspects of cognitive learning theory into your classroom practice.

Cognitive learning theorists have a more holistic sense of what is involved in learning than behaviourists and would typically place active approaches at the heart of classroom work.

This family of learning theory includes the individual constructivist, Piaget (whom you will meet in this module) and the social constructivists, Vygotsky and Bruner (whom you will meet in the next).

All of them are described as ‘constructivists' because they see learning as a process of constructing knowledge through the connection of new experiences to prior understanding. Pupils gain new insights as they make meaning of previously learned facts.

These can often be social or interactive experiences as pupils learn from each other or from parents or teachers. Constructivists within this cognitive family of learning theory understand learning as part of a process of socialisation.

WRITE: Write about the main ways in which this problem-solving approach to learning differs from a behaviourist approach.

(Allow 30 minutes)