Cognitive Learning Theories & Technology


How do the Cognitive Learning Theories fit with technology and online learning?

Cognitive Theories

Basic gist…

Online /Technology Examples

Teaching Strategies and Useful Pedagogies

Social Cognitive

Albert Bandura and Walter Mischel, 1960s

People learn from their social environments. There are many interactions in these environments that contribute to learning: directly achieved by practicing or vicariously

video technology, virtual worlds (Secondlife, social networking applications, virtual simulations or multi-media presentations

Teacher modelling, peer modelling, role play, coaching, goal setting and self-evaluation


Based on work by Atkinson and Shriffin, 1968

Concerns itself with how humans perceive, process, store, and retrieve (forget) information and events.  Focus on memory

Online videos/games/ puzzles, KWL chart in wiki, online surveys, webquests: inquiry/problem based, self-marking online quizzes or LMS

Gaining attention, sharing learning outcomes, KWL chart,    motivational hooks, scaffolding , opportunities to practice, providing feedback, chunking, sequencing, graphic organizers, mental imagery, silly sentences, Repeat key concepts, random review, daily drills, trivia games, cues

Meaningful learning

David Ausubel, 1962

Stipulates that learning builds upon previous knowledge, but this prior knowledge needs to be activated by an advance organizer

concept map software (CMAP), glogster, spicynodes, prezis, blogs, social network sites,

Concept map, graffiti board, brainstorming, KWL charts, sharing anecdotes

Schema Theory

RC Anderson, 1977

Articulates that prior knowledge, organized as abstract concepts, is used to interpret information.  Past experiences create a web of connections between ideas and as new information is received, learners strive to fit this information into their existing networks of understanding

Online websites for kids like BBC and discovery where information is provided and follow up activities, LMS modules, collaborative or independent graphic organizers in a wiki

*must consider culture and learning styles

· Provide appropriate background information, fill in the blank activities, KWL charts, pro/con T charts


Influenced by Gesault, Pavlov, Thorndike, Watson and Skinner

Two models: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.  Both are based on the notion that actions and thoughts are behaviours that will react to stimuli

Online games and reward systems (points), online competitions

Reward charts, structured lessons, projects and tests, established systems with clear expectations and consequences, consistency is key




Additional information