Historical perspective of cognitive learning theory is extremely interesting. First of all, it is important to understand what cognitive learning theory is all about. This theory is about understanding how the human mind works while a person is learning.
According to cognitive learning theory, a student actively learns when he makes an effort to organize, store and the finding relationship between old and new information, scripts and schema. In simple words, cognitive learning theory is about how information is processed by the mind.
Earlier when behaviorism was in the forefront, many psychologists did not approve of its theory. They believed that behaviorism put too much emphasis on single events, stimuli and overt behavior. This opinion was mostly from the Gestalt psychologists. These psychologists believed that any perception or images should be studied as a whole rather than in parts of a whole. This thinking gradually started having a deep impact on what psychologists thought about learning. While behavioral psychologists look towards the environment of a person, Gestalt psychologists started focusing on a person's cognition or the process of learning.
Researchers like Jean Piaget made significant contribution to cognitive learning theory. Piaget acknowledged that environment played a role but he focused his attention to the changes that took place in the internal cognitive structure. In fact, Piaget was instrumental in identifying four stages of mental growth, namely sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational.
Jerome Bruner, another researcher, focused on how mental processes could be connected to teaching and he emphasized that learning took place through discovery. Robert M Gagne was instrumental in identifying 8 forms of learning.
Today, cognitive learning theory is a dominant force in psychology.
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