Chapter 7

Cognitive Views of Learning

I. Information processing model of human memory

A. The model uses computer as analogy

1. Encoding: gathering and representing information

2. Storage: holding information

3. Retrieval: getting at the information when needed

4. Control processes: guides how and when information will flow through the system

B. Sensory memory: capacity, duration and contents

1. Holds sensations from the environment for a brief time

2. Capacity: very large

3. Duration: fragile, between 1 and 3 seconds

4. Content: resembles the sensation from the original stimulus

C. Perception: the meaning we attribute to sensory memory

1. Gestalt theory: people's tendency to organize sensory information into patterns or relationships (figure 7.2)

2. Feature analysis: the stimulus is analyzed into features or components and assembled into a meaningful pattern (bottom-up processing)

3. Top-down processing: based on knowledge and expectation

D. Attention

1. Is a limited resource - can only pay attention to one demanding task at a time

2. Attention and teaching

3. Guidelines for gaining and maintaining attention

a) Use signals

b) Make sure the purpose of the lesson or assignment is clear to students

c) Emphasize variety, curiosity, and surprise

d) Ask questions and provide frames for answering

E. Working memory (or short-term memory): Holds the information that is currently activated

1. Capacity, duration, and contents of working memory

a) Capacity: limited - five to nine separate new items at once (of new information)

b) Duration: short, about 5 to 20 seconds

c) Contents: may be in the form of images, or structured more abstractly and based on meaning

2. Retaining information in working memory

a) Maintenance rehearsal (Craik & Lockhart) involves repeating the information in your mind

b) Elaborative rehearsal involves connecting the information with something already known

c) Chunking - grouping individual bits of information can somewhat circumvent the capacity of working memory

3. Forgetting

a) Interference - remembering new information interferes with the remembering of old information

b) Decay - the activation level weakens until the information cannot be reactivated

c) Is useful, or the working memory would be overloaded and learning would cease

F. Long-term memory: holds the information that is well learned

1. Capacity and duration of long term memory

a) Capacity: unlimited

b) Duration: can remain in long-term memory indefinitely

c) Access can be difficult

2. Contents of long-term memory (Paivio's dual-coding theory)

a) Information is stored as either visual images or verbal images or both.

b) Information coded both ways may be easier to learn

3. Categories of long-term memory

a) Semantic memory is stored (as propositions, images, and schemas) for meaning

b) Propositions and propositional networks

(1) Proposition - the smallest unit of information that can be judged true or false

(2) Propositional network - interconnected bits of information

(3) Information may be stored and represented in propositional networks; bits of information can trigger or activate recall of another

c) Images are representations based on perceptions

d) Schemas are abstract knowledge structures

(1) Organize vast amounts of information

(2) Patterns or guides for understanding an event, a concept, or a skill

(a) Story grammar

(b) Event schema

4. Episodic and procedural memory

a) Episodic: memory for information tied to a particular place and time, especially events in one's own life

b) Procedural: memory for how to do things. Represented as condition-action rules, or productions. These tell one what to do under certain conditions

G. Storing and retrieving information in long-term memory

1. Elaboration; the addition of meaning to new information through its connection with already existing information.

2. Organization - material that is well organized is easier to learn and to remember than bits of information

3. Context - aspects of physical and emotional content are learned along with other information.

H. Levels of processing theories (Craik & Lockhart) - The more completely information is processed, the better the chances of retrieving the information later

I. Retrieving information from long-term memory

1. Only one small area of the memory network is activated at any time

2. Retrieval through the spread of activation

3. Reconstruction - a problem-solving process that makes use of logic, cues, and other knowledge to construct a reasonable answer by filling in any missing parts

a) Bartlett - stories recalled to be consistent with students' schemas

b) Loftus - eyewitness testimony

J. Forgetting and long-term memory

1. Once lost, information disappears

2. Lost through time decay and interference

K. Guidelines: Using information processing ideas in the classroom

II. Constructivism and situated learning

A. Exogenous constructivism: focuses on the ways that individuals reconstruct outside reality by building accurate mental representations

B. Endogenous constructivism: assumes that new knowledge is abstracted from old knowledge and not by accurately mapping the outside world

C. Dialectical constructivism: suggests that knowledge grows through the interactions of internal and external factors

D. Knowledge: accuracy versus usefulness

E. Situated learning: the idea that learning is inherently social and embedded in a particular cultural setting. Learning is like an apprenticeship