Blogosphere: Cognitivism and Behaviorism

Wk3 Discussion: Cognitivism and Behaviorism

Though novice in blogging, I ascertain that blogs become an effective means of disseminate information through public debates or conversations; thus “the blogosphere today is replete with conversations and debates related to learning theory”(Lucia, 2010). Bill Kerr’s, Stephen Downes’, and Karl Kapp’ s blogs provide two examples of fascinating discussions on cognitivism and behaviorism.

While Cognitivism is the study of the brain and the information processing, Behaviorism comprises the position that all theories should have observational correlates but that there are no philosophical differences between publicly observable processes such as actions and privately observable processes such as thinking and feeling. Gagné, tied to B. F. Skinner’s idea of sequenced learning events due to his development of the “Events of Instruction,” proposed a nine-step process related to the learning process:  Gain attention, inform learner of objectives, stimulate recall of prior learning, present stimulus material, provide learner guidance, elicit performance, provide feedback, assess performance, and enhance retention and transfer.  The Events of Instruction led to various learning outcomes and supported the internal processes of learning (Wikipedia, 2010):

It may be true that “Learning theories, like politics, is full of _isms:  Constructivism, behaviorism, cognitivism, and connectivism”, but these _isms under the Learning theories do not contradict each other but there is a noticeable continuity or overlapping, unlike in politics where there is a constant fight among the adherents.  These learning theories, indeed, help shape the way we learn and cope with the changes we encounter.  They consist of the basis of “curriculum reform”, as through research, knowledge, and wisdom, philosophers and educators chose the best ideas.  The thinker posits: “We need to take pieces from each school of thought and apply it effectively because…Cognitivism doesn’t explain 100% how humans process information and neither does Constructivism or Behaviorism. What we need to is take the best from each philosophy and use it wisely to create solid educational experiences for our learners” (Kapp, 2007).  In any cases, behaviorism and cognitivism will always consist of the fundamentals of learning theories.  Learning theories evolve and act as “filters not as blinkers” (Kerr, 2007) and they are practical in use depending on individuals and situation.

I disagree with Kapp when he says:  “We have now find ourselves shifting to a Cognitive form of teaching over that of behaviorism as we become more concern with the internal mental processes of the mind and how they could be used in encouraging effective learning” (Kapp, 2007); because, by definition, behaviorism displays itself in any learning situation; even in cognition dealing with mental processing depicts a response to stimuli, since process has to be displayed and measured.

Last week, we learned about information processing and realized that there exist relationships between the physical object and the mental life of the information processor.  It is evident that individual neurons possess language, and that the basic unit for communication consists of two neurons and their entire field of interacting:  dendritic and synaptic connections.  While information processing in the brain is highly complex, each neuron uses a simple mechanism for transmitting information.  I may not be able to measure the behavior of the neurons with my naked eyes, but I may be able to see the effects of the response they produce.   In the blogosphere, conversation will have sense within the context and situation surrounding it; in essence, cognition cannot be separated from the context.  Instead knowing exists, inseparable from context, activity, people, culture, and language. Therefore, learning is seen in terms of an individual’s increasingly effective performance across situations rather than in terms of an accumulation of knowledge, since what is known is co-determined by the agent and the context.  Thus situated learning consists of “the notion of learning knowledge and skills in contexts that reflect the way they will be used in real life” (Collins, 1988).  Thus, situated cognition theory encourages educators to immerse learners in an environment that approximates as closely as possible context in which their new ideas and behaviors will be applied (Schell & Black, 1997).  Whether it is human information processing or machine, computer, or robotic processing there is always behaviorism and cognitivism.


Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 4:36 am  Leave a Comment  

The brain and learning, information processing theory, and problem-solving

The second site under this week learning: The brain and learning, information processing theory, and problem-solving methods during the learning process enumerates:


This site expands on pertinent information on “Intelligent Design Theory and Consciousness and Information Processing”. Dr. Nancey Murphy, Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary, argues on the functions of our eyes in information processing theory.  She vividly defends her point with the relationships between the physical object and the mental life of the information processor and distinguishes the difference between consciousness and information processing.  She does not refute the idea that there is evidence that individual neurons possess language, and that the basic unit for communication consists of two neurons and their entire field of interacting:  dendritic and synaptic connections. Here again the researcher has ample source on various component of information processing.  While information processing in the brain is highly complex, each neuron uses a simple mechanism for transmitting information.  I understand that there is a difference between consciousness and information processing, which is a biological function; but I do have problem with her analogy in “life does not require a new kind of entity, that is, complex bodies have the quality of being alive if they interact with the environment in a special way. Similarly, mind is not a new kind of entity, rather complex living beings have mental qualities if they interact with the environment in a special way”.  Consciousness is a subjective experience or awareness or wakefulness or the executive control system of the mind.  It is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of mental phenomena.  In information processing, I can detect and realize what everyday experiences consist of but I find it difficult to define objectively consciousness.  “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.” (Schneider and Velmans, 2007).

Consciousness in medicine (e.g., anesthesiology) is assessed by observing a patient’s alertness and responsiveness, and can be seen as a continuum of states ranging from alert, oriented to time and place, and communicative, through disorientation, then delirium, then loss of any meaningful communication, and ending with loss of movement in response to painful stimulation.  Consciousness in psychology and philosophy has four characteristics: subjectivity, change, continuity and selectivity. Intentionality or aboutness (that consciousness is about something) has also been suggested by philosopher Franz Brentano. However, within the philosophy of mind there is no consensus on whether intentionality is a requirement for consciousness.

Consciousness is the subject of much research in philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Issues of practical concern include how the presence of consciousness can be assessed in severely ill or comatose people; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be measured; at what point in fetal development consciousness begins; and whether computers can achieve a conscious state.

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The brain and Learning, Information processing theory, and Problem-solving methods during the learning process

The new site related to this week learning:  The brain and Learning, Information processing theory, and Problem-solving methods during the learning process consist of:,+information+processing+theory,+and+problem-solving+methods&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

The site presents a critique of contemporary research, which uses the notion of a mental image as a theoretical construct to describe one form of memory representation. It exposes the reader to various topics under information processing.  Another advantage of the site consists of the media presentation of various concepts on consciousness and processing.   The author presents a description of problem-solving theory in terms of information processes for use in a digital computer. The postulates are: “A control system consisting of a number of memories, which contain symbolized information and are interconnected by various ordering relations; a number of primitive information processes, which operate on the information in the memories; a perfectly definite set of rules for combining these processes into whole programs of processing.”  /  The site is educative and informative, broadening the inquirer’s mind for research; it is a melting pot website with given examples of how processes that occur in behavior can be realized out of elementary information processes. “The heuristic value of this theory is pertinent to theories of learning, perception, and concept formation”.

As a math teacher, I consider problem solving as among the most important learning outcomes, and on this site few instructional design prescriptions are available for designing problem-solving instruction and engaging learners.  As Dr Omrond stated in her video presentation, Instructional Designers need to distinguish between well-structured problems and ill-structured problems. “Well-structured problems are constrained problems with convergent solutions that engage the application of a limited number of rules and principles within well-defined parameters. Ill-structured problems possess multiple solutions, solution paths, fewer parameters, which are less manipulable, and contain uncertainty about which concepts, rules, and principles are necessary for the solution or how they are organized and which solution is best”. This site presents models for how learners solve problems and models for designing instruction to support problem-solving skill development. The model for solving well-structured problems is based on information processing theories of learning, while the model for solving ill-structured problems relies on an emerging theory of ill-structured problem solving and on constructivist and situated cognition approaches to learning.

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hello world!

Welcome to SKossivi’s Blog:  Seek, Dare, Experiment, and be Quiet!

This is a lifetime journey in the world of education defined as “what is left of a person after everything else is forgotten”.  It is said that people without vision perish, I seek my freedom in education for it is the sole avenue for emancipation and evolution of mankind, I believe.  As the world change, people need to adapt, and my way to adapt is through education that can equip me and prepare me to respond positively to the technological and innovative evolution of the world.  I find my extension in Instructional Design and Technology I am both excited about and novice at.  I hope and believe that by the time I finish with my MS in IDT:  Online Learning, I will be on my way to celebrate my independence.

I am a seeker, a darer, an experimenter, and a helper in time of need.  As a teacher, by profession, I have passion in teaching Mathematics, and I need to grow professionally and innovatively to give a new face to my delivery, and be more marketable and contribute more to the society in this ever- changing world.  Scholars, welcome to the world of Instructional Design and Technology.

I believe, education is tainted with philosophy that determines each individual’s life; and I would like to submit that the diametrically opposite choices between Aristotelian philosophy and Platonic philosophy, I read on Learning Theories, profoundly affect every individual and society.  One of the Chinese proverbs states that ” may we live in interesting time”, and I think we are really living in more than interesting times, as we evolve in the world of increased knowledge and advanced technology, and interact in the global market.  I subscribe to Aristotelian philosophy, which is the intellectual basis of rational decision making for success in life and could be considered as the fundamentals of constructivism.  Unlike Dewey’s suggestions based on Plato’s philosophy, about studying mathematics and science at the age of 20 ( – Plato), I believe in fundamental knowledge such as reading, writing, mathematics, and science.  I have reserve for the philosophy that promotes the concept that children can be educated by allowing them to follow their mental fantasies; what happens is that the teacher merely follows where the child’s feelings may lead; this I term dishonesty and laziness.  A teacher’s role consists of providing the child with objective knowledge through systematic input of integrated facts and information.  I would like to submit that Dewey’s approach, based on Platonic philosophy, provides the basis of public education today.

The e-learning, at Walden University, based on various discussions with Dr Michelle Lucia, suggest an Aristotelian educational approach, which provides the tools that every person needs to develop the knowledge necessary for guiding his/her life to unlimited prosperity and everlasting happiness.  And to me Aristotelian philosophy of education forms the basis for free-enterprise capitalism.  Except for free-enterprise capitalism, all political systems including democracy (a tyranny by the majority) require deception to exist.  Thus, all those political “ism” and destructive religious systems impede on value production and are harmful to human beings.  Only free-enterprise capitalism is based entirely on voluntary free choice, is consistent with the nature of conscious beings, is moral and just and, thus it is beneficial to all conscious beings, as it offers freedom to everyone by rejecting all mysticism, racism, initiatory force, and fraud.  This is the kind of education we need to live in these interesting times.

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 6:25 am  Comments (2)