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The Progressive Steps of Cognitive Learning

October 8, 2013 at 1:36 am

There are six different categories, or progressions, of cognitive learning according to Dr. Benjamin Bloom. Step one is the recollection of knowledge! It is basic memorization of raw information without really understanding it. An example is memorizing vocabulary words in Spanish. Step 2 is comprehension. It is the true understanding of the information! We have reached this step when we can explain that which we are learning in our own words! Step 3 is application. It is utilizing our understanding by applying knowledge to new situations.

An example would be saying “hello, my name is…” in Spanish to a native speaker. Step 4 is analysis. This is where we analyze the different aspects of the knowledge. We break the material into parts! Step 5 is called synthesis. This is where we put all the parts together! We combine information in new ways. Step 6 is evaluation. This is where we examine the information and make judgements on the value of the material! An example is evaluating the best way to approach a native from Spain. Combine these steps and the result is complete cognitive learning!

Rapid Skill Aquistion: Motor Learning

October 4, 2013 at 12:38 am

When talking about rapid skill acquisition, we are concerned with motor learning! There are three basic stages we go through when acquiring a new skill! These three stages are early, intermediate, and late! The early stage is where cognitive learning takes place! This is where you think about you are trying to do, understand it, and then break it into smaller more manageable parts. The second stage, intermediate, is where you actually practice the skill! You also adjust your practices based on feedback.

Finally, the late phase is the autonomous phase. This is where the skill has become automatic! You can do it without really thinking about it! Rapid skill acquisition is not the same as mastering a skill or becoming an expert! It is being able preform sufficiently and automatically! To truly master something takes thousands of hours! Time of which most of us do not have! It seems better then to spend our time learning a variety of desirable skills, than to spend all of our time only mastering one specific subject! To learn a skill in which you can preform 80% better than the rest of the population takes about 20 hours...I repeat, when done properly, it will take roughly twenty hours for a skill to become autonomous!

Levels of Cognitive Learning

October 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm

There are three basic levels of cognitive learning: memorization, understanding, and application! Memorization is just that, memorizing bits and pieces of information! You can think of this process of route (or what I like to call BRUTE) learning. While sometimes it is necessary, if something is only memorized for the sake of a test, it cannot really be applied! Before we can apply something, we have to really understand it. Therefore, something is not totally learned until it has been processed through all three levels!

As an example picture three car mechanics: one is a complete newbie, the second has been working at the shop for several weeks, and the third (old guy) has been there for over a decade. The novice has all the parts of a car memorized; but he can not tune the car because he does not understand what each of the parts actually does. The second fellow has the parts memorized and has a basic of understanding of what they do! He can do most jobs competently but occasionally asks for help. The old geezer who has been working forever, has achieved the highest level of cognitive learning! He knows each part, understands how they interact, and can readily apply this knowledge whenever needed!

Kinds of Learning

September 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

There are three important types of learning
Cognitive Learning (Knowledge)
Affective Learning (Self awareness)
Motor Learning (Skills)
Cognitive learning involves the thinking and knowledge portion of learning. Affective learning includes the way we deal with things emotionally and our understanding of how those emotions affect us! Motor learning deals with physical movement and the development of motor skills! You might be wondering which one is the most important! While all are important, cognitive learning is probably the most important. For example, if you don’t have the thinking skills or knowledge, is very difficult to improve your affective learning! And though you do not necessarily need cognitive learning to improve motor skills, it can help! The better your thinking process is, the more likely you can develop a more efficient plan to improve your physical abilities!

Learning: Why our current model doesn’t work

September 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Comprehending the perception and process-ation of information is good and dandy, but pretty useless without also understanding the learning process as a whole. Let’s imagine what the common learning wheel looks like in today’s society! We see a problem, search for a solution, and then act that solution out! This results in incomplete and inefficient learning! What is so wrong with this way of learning, you might be thinking! Well, EVERYTHING, would be my answer!!! There are several pieces missing in this model, the most important being a step we will call reflection. Let’s take a look at a real life example! Imagine that I have been on a diet for the last three months! The first two months I stuck to my guns and lost 20 pounds using a secret formula (more on that later)! This last month, though, has not been going so well! I completely fudged my diet and reverted back to my old, emotional eating, ways! So what happened? I observed and defined the problem (my weight), found a solution (diet), and tried my best to follow through with it! Why did I fail???
The reason that this model does not work well is because it is missing a very very vital step! This is the step of reflection! It is there part where we contemplate the why! Applying this to the previous example, why was I at an unhealthy weight in the first place? Why did I gain so much weight? That answer is a combination of several things but there is one deep underlying reason! I eat, whenever I am stressed! I am stressed for a thousand different reasons, which leads me to eat even more! If I never take a step back to REFLECT on what is really going on, how can I ever really fix the problem??? I cannot, I thought I had solved the problem when I lost those twenty pounds, only to find out I wasn’t even working on the actual problem at all! I was putting a band aid on a cut on my arm while my leg was bleeding out!! The underlying problem is my emotional eating! Now that I have identified the real obstacle, it will be much easier to overcome! Perhaps, I can start an exercise program! Where instead of eating when I start to feel stress, I go out and take a jog!
(Want to know my weight loss secret?…If you really want to know, simply purchase my newest eBook “top secret weight loss solutions the experts aren’t telling you,” for only $50! If you purchase it now, you’ll get my free diet plan, written by world class nutritionists, for free!!!Hurry though, this is a limited offer)

Cognitive Learning: Processing Information

September 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm

When we recive new information, the first thing we must do is process it! This is the thinking or reflection portion of the process! The two main topics regarding the processing of information are global and analytical ways of thinking. Page 15 (Smith, 1982) If I were to ask two people who differ cognitively, one global and one analytical, how they would like me to summarize this book! The global thinker would prefer a general outline of the whole book! On the other hand, the analytical processor would like a more detailed outline, describing each part thoroughly. Global learners see the whole picture as one simultaneous event. The analytic leaner focuses more on the distinct parts and steps, how they form the whole!
Nowadays, you may hear someone say the phrase “right brained” or “left brained”! These are simply different sides of the same “dollar bill”! While there are minor differences, right brain can be reliably interchanged with global thinking. While left is said to be analytical! So what are some common characteristics of a global (right) thinker? The global learner sees all the pieces connected as a whole, they perceive information that they can relate to, they construct patterns, and they see the relationships between those patterns. The analytical cog-nician perceives the distinct parts, they see the parts in a logical step by step manner, they are objective, and they recognize the discrete details. Neither is better than the other and both ways of thought are needed to create a complete picture! Not one individual is completely analytical or totally global; we are all a combination of the two! Part Dr. Hyde, part Mr. Jeckyl, depending on the situation at hand!

Cognitive Learning: Getting in the “Zone”

September 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Think about the last time that you had to learn something! Whether that was in work, school, at a friends house, at your mom’s house (or your house if you still live with your momma), or anywhere else! What kind of experience was it? Positive or negative, did you have fun or was it a painful experience? If it was negative, hopefully we can change that! Learning should be a fun, immersive involvement! Imagine a child as he ‘plays” with a new toy! Notice on the emphaisis on the word play! For the child plays while he learns; to him, there is no distinction between the two! While he is totally immersed in the exploration of the capabilities of his new figurine, he is also having fun! He experiments, he laughs, he tries something new, he has not concept of failure nor of social acceptance! This is learning at its best! While most of us would find it embarrassing to duplicate the actions of a child, that is exactly what we should do! Act like the adolescent that you once where, just hold back slightly at work (especially if you have a serious boss) I wouldn’t want someone getting fired because they got so into the moment that they put on a cape and pretended to be superwoman in the middle of the office! But it is for your beneift to get into the cognitve learning zone!!!

Cognivite Learning: Perception- Learning Styles

September 23, 2013 at 2:55 am

One of the major stages in learning involves perception. When we consider perception, we are concerned with what the scientific community calls perceptual modalities! In other words, the modes (modality) in which we perceive our environment. Our modality is the means by which we derive information from the environment! Each person’s is different! The way we view the world is as individualized as the face that peers back at you in the mirror! Therefore, it is important to examine your own preferred mode of perception! To improve learning on an individual level, we must first understand how we perceive information! While there are many theories on perceptual modalities, we will focus on what is known as the VARK modal According to VARK, we receive information in four main ways: visual, auditory, reading (and writing), and kinesthetic! Visual learners prefer pictures, videos, charts, diagrams, etc. Auditory advocates focus on the spoken word: discussions, lectures, even reading out load to oneself. Reading and writing learners are self-explanatory. Finally, kinesthetic promoters learn while engaged through movement. They learn by physically practicing what it is what they want to know.
Note that the reason VARK was chosen over other modals is its containment of the most pertinent elements for our purpose of more efficient learning! In a literature review , (Harter 1981) proposed that the strongest modes of receiving information for children from kindergarten to sixth grade was visual, with kinesthetic coming in at second. From sixth grade to adulthood, the preferred method was still visual, but auditory beat kinesthetic in this cognitive “race” of preferences! VARK includes these important elements along with the addition of reading and writing! There are other perceptive modes but I felt it pointless to list any irrelevant types. One of these such types is olfactory (taste). Perhaps the act of munching on a small chunk of ink exposed parchment helps you learn faster, (if so, I greatly apologize to you) but for the rest of us “normal” people, I thought it irrelevant!
Determining your modality is one of those things that is simple and yet somehow complicated at the same time! Like trying to close one of those stupid cheapo zip lock bags which never seem to close right! There are surveys that one can use to help determine his or her processing characteristics! Herrmann’s Brain Dominance Inventory, Hemispheric Mode Indicator, and Witkin’s Group Embedded Figures Test are three of such tests! While you may check these surveys out for yourself, but an easier way to do this is to simply examine yourself! Determine your own preferences! Think about the last time you had to learn something new! A good scenario to contemplate is the last time you got a new cell phone, computer, or tried to construct one of those “easy to build” shelves (which never turn out to be so simple) Do you prefer to see pictures, or watch someone else do it (visual)? Do you read the instructions out loud(audio)? Do you simply sit down and get to work (kinesthetic)? Or do you just like the written instructions by themselves (reading and writing). Don’t just use this one scenario though; try to figure out your preferences in general! If you had to choose only two modes, which would they be? Which one do you find least useful! Make a note to yourself and try to apply this new knowledge whenever you are learning!

What is Cognitive Learning

September 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm

We hear the term “cognitive learning” used much more broadly these days. It used to primarily be an academic term that interested mostly educators and was rarely heard in any other context. Today, you may hear it frequently used in any discussion regarding general learning; whether that be in the conversation of business, school, skill acquisition, or self-help. The absorption and integration of information is the commonality connecting these different realms. If we find ourselves pressed with the task of mastering anything new or forgotten, cognitive learning becomes extremely valuable. In other words, cognitive learning can be used to literally improve any are within our lives!

So, what exactly is cognitive learning? In its broadest sense, cognitive learning refers to the use of reason and awareness to integrate new knowledge. It is taking something presently unknown to oneself, becoming aware of it, reflecting on it, conceptualizing it, on it How well one can perform learning tasks are called one’s “cognitive skills.” How developed a person’s cognitive abilities may depend upon several factors. For example, the culture you were raised in, the manner in which you were educated and your individual motivation to learn help to determine one’s cognitive learning skills. The goal of studying cognitive learning is to improve the means by which people learn new things and adopt new behaviors.

The ultimate goal of cognitive learning is to teach people to work out the answers to their problems for themselves. Ideally, what happens with cognitive learning is that when you are taught something new, you will then reason/think about it, understand it well enough to put it in your own words, and then fit this new knowledge in with what you already know. This fully integrated way of absorbing new information is considered the highest form of learning. Cognitive learning is a process, usually consisting of three distinct forms of acquiring knowledge:


This form is the most basic means of acquiring new information, and it is especially effective when it consists of learning basic facts and figures. For example, learning the multiplication tables or that the American Revolution began in 1776 are the sorts of information one can easily acquire through memorization. However, the drawback of memorization is that it does not teach you much beyond the dry data itself, which is why many learners find memorization boring.


This form of learning is more meaningful than memorization because it relates the new information to information that you already have. For example, you might see the ways in which knowing the multiplication tables might apply to relationships between the numbers or grasp what is meant by a political revolution. While understanding represents a higher form of learning, it is still knowledge grasped only at an abstract level. The learner is still dealing with concepts, as opposed to things in the real world.


The highest forms of cognition are achieved when the learner can actually take what they have memorized and understood and then apply it to things in the real world. This would occur if one used the multiplication tables to find an answer involving relationships between actual objects you encounter in everyday life, or used what you learned about the American Revolution to form an opinion about a current political issue. The real test is whether the learner can use the new knowledge they have acquired in situations that they have not previously encountered or can see familiar situations in new ways.

The Consequences

The bottom line is that one’s cognitive learning skills will largely determine whether you are a good learner or whether you will struggle to learn. When children do not develop good cognitive learning skills, they are certain to eventually fall behind in school because they cannot integrate new lessons with previous ones. The problem becomes worse when, as too often happens, children are passed to the next grade without having mastered the previous academic material because of a lack of cognitive skills. Adults without such skills will have a hard time competing for or performing in high-level jobs and will have lower lifetime incomes. They are also likely to be less effective in handling social interactions or altering their own behavior for the better.

The Future

Your professional and social prospects are why cognitive learning is so important. If you cannot learn information, make sense of what you have learned and then apply what you have learned to real life situations, then your career opportunities and degree of successful social interaction, along with your ability to perceive and appreciate the people and things in your environment, will all be lessened. That is why so much research and experimentation in how to develop cognitive learning skills is currently underway, and why the subject is one that no person concerned with effective education or improving society can ignore in the years to come.

History of Cognitive Learning

September 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm

History of Cognitive Leraning

The history of cognitive learning can be majorly attributed to four individuals: Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), Herman Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), Mary Whiton Calkins (1863-1930) and William James (1842-1910).

Wundt, commonly known as the father of experimental psychology, named his theory introspection and focused on the inner feelings of individuals while learning. The learner had to describe their feelings in the most objective manner so that Wundt could analyze the information scientifically. Modern cognitive scientists have employed this theory, though in an objective procedure to make conclusions about learning processes.

Herman, on the other hand, made studies extensively about functioning and capacity of the human mind. He achieved this by creating 200 nonexistent syllables and measuring his ability to learn and retain these words. He chose nonexistent words to reduce the influence of existent syllabuses on learning. Studies by Herman have been significant to scientists in understanding how the brain functions, and several recollection techniques. Such as the amount of time it takes to synthesize information, and to retrieve stored data.

Whiton Calkins, a renowned pioneer American psychologist, also focused on human memory capacity. She named her theory the Recency effect. She tried to determine the possibility of individuals accurately retrieving final items learned in a sequence of stimuli. This theory is tied to the Herman studies and is closely examined together.

Finally, William James, also known as the father of American psychology, criticized both the Herman introspection studies and Wundt human memory capacity studies. He focused on the human learning process in the everyday environment. His book ‘principles of psychology’ provides insight on various aspects of cognition such as memory, perception, reasoning and perception among others.

Other psychologists who have influenced the history of psychology include Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud (also referred to as the father of psychology) and Erik Erikson.

Cognitive psychologists are known criticize the behaviorist notions of stimuli, response and reinforcement. Noam Chomsky, who started the “cognitive revolution”, argued that behaviorism could not be used to explain some learning processes, especially complex human behavior. Other psychologists also thought children could learn some behaviors on their own, depending on the environment (Albert Bandura).