Thursday, December 29, 2011

Module 2 Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

After review of the conversations between Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes and Karl Kapp, I couldn’t  agree more with Kapp’s statement that we need to take the best from each philosophy (Cognitivism, Behaviorism, Constructivism, and Connectivism) and use it (Kapp & Kerr, 2007).  We need to take pieces from each school of thought and apply it effectively.  Kerr adds that these learning theories do not stand still.  They continue to evolve. 
Each learning theory relates to Bloom’s Taxonomy levels of intellect. Kapp relates this to starting at the lower levels of learning and extending to higher order thinking skills and learning (Kapp, 2007).  Behaviorism (memorize, recognize and label), Cognitivism (procedural, rule based learning), Constructivism (problem-solving, collaboration, creativity) and Connectivism (cyclical, filtering, construct) can all be utilized to help the learner gain new knowledge in a variety of situations. 
Additionally,  I agree with Kapp in that learning is not just one thing.  It cannot be pinned to one theory.  Students cannot learn with a “one style fits all” approach to learning.  It is important for educators to keep this in mind when preparing their instruction.  As educators, we are given the task of presenting a variety of strategies and educational experiences in order for our students to gain knowledge and make it applicable. 
I have found this to be true in my teaching experience with students having a learning disability.  I certainly could not rely on one approach for all students.  What works for one student, may not work for another.  It is very important for educators to be creative and flexible in their presentations and activities they plan for their students.
Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought. Message posted to 

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker. Message posted to

I have responded to Belinda VanNorman and Sandra Dykes' Blog post.


  1. Hi Debra,

    It is hard to disagree with any of your points regarding the assigned blogs in the Module 2 assignment, especially the introspective view you posit regarding learning behavior as an educator.

    While I embrace your comments wholeheartedly, I'm particularly struck by the Benjamin Bloom/Taxonomy reference, which is telling in the mid-1950s' decade as cognitive science and educational technology began blossoming in our society. Piaget (Saettler, 2004) was of course appropriately credited for putting cognitive psychology on the map during a period leading up to a putative educational technology revolution. But Bloom's approach to get learners to take knowledge to a higher and more critical thinking level by having them synthesize and evaluate what they learned in order to effectuate a better understanding was pivotal in the learning process, in my view.

    Thanks, Debra, for shedding additional light on our study of Cognitivism as a Learning Theory.



    Saettler, P. (2004). The evolution of American educational technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

  2. Debra,

    I think that you brought up an excellent topic in the discussion of best practices and thinking of the diverse population of learners when you mentioned the complexity of students with learning disabilities. It is these students that I think of most when referencing back to the importance of a collaborative union among the learning theories. These students have such unique needs. Differentiated instruction is significant to the learning process of these students. Furthermore, it is important to the academic success of all students. I think that Kapp and Kerr did an excellent job of bringing awareness to this idea.

  3. Hi Debra,

    Your post reminds each of us about the diverse group of students that we are teaching. Inclusion has filled our classroom with students with disabilities. There is certainly no "one size fits all". Presently, I have the opportunity to teach a remarkable young man that is visually impaired. Technology makes his life so much easier in the classroom. Though he is visually impaired; he is cognitively brilliant. Through the years, I too have learned that all theories must be in play. What works well with one student, sometimes will not work well with another. Flexible and creative are two essential components to consider when preparing instructional design.

    Sandra Dykes

  4. Good post, I also agree that students come to your classroom each day with multiple learning styles. Teachers have to find ways to identify what works for that particular student. I believe it's important that all teachers ensure they design their lessons accordingly. One way is to apply differentiated instructions which will ensure that all students are getting what is needed to master their goals and objectives.