Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

The blog sites for Kapp (2007) and Kerr (2007), house debates relative to the behaviorist and cognitivism learning theories. Kerr (2007) likened the learning theory to politics; and as in politics, everyone takes a stance based on their beliefs and experiences, whether they are considered rational or not. The same is true in the field of education. The learning theories have evolved and the premises upon which they are based are overarching. Piaget identified the cognitive process as an experience-based one (Goertzel, Pennachin, & Geisweiller, 2014). Stephen Downs (Kerr, 2007) appeared to be quick to dispense with the theory of behaviorism and portrayed the mind as a processor of information yet stated that the mind “is not like a computer.” According to Stephens “the mind is not like a computer … depicting the mind as analogous to (and governed by the rules governing) symbol system processors is to misrepresent it [the mind] in a fundamental way.” It is interesting to note that cognitive information processing (known as connectivism) is a twenty-first theory of learning that compares the functionality of the human brain to that of a computer. By definition, the computer serves as a template of sorts for the way the human learner processes information. With this in mind, one could say that the blog environment is a constructivist’s playground because this virtual environment enables a person to voice their opinion from their perspective irrespective of whether the person’s conceptual framework is in concert with accepted and/or standardized characterizations. The debates showed that the support for a learning theory does not have to be all-or-nothing. Just as the debate centered on the differences in behavioral versus cognitive learning; we see a similar debate in the educational realm relative to traditional and online education. Perhaps a blended approach would best define the true learning patterns of the student in both scenarios. After all, the discussions of behavioral versus cognitive learning can easily evolve into a discussion of traditional versus online learning today.

Goertzel, B., Pennachin, C., & Geisweiller, N. (2014). Stages of cognitive development. Engineering General Intelligence, Part 1 (pp. 225-244). Atlantis Press.
Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from
Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from


One thought on “Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

  1. Renee
    I like the way you relate the act of blogging and constructivist’s arena. It is true that the fast expansion of progressively computer technology and communication structures has greatly influenced the way constructivist currently determine the instructional methods to enhance education. When it comes to learning a student like me has an incredible amount of information from difference sources such as subject experts on blogging forums. This can with no doubt present students with tools for creativity and development.


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