For this blog post, I am going to be thinking through and answering this question:
What are the differences between the behaviorist and cognitive perspectives of learning?
I would first like to start by talking about the behavioral aspects of learning. We learned in class last week about constructivism. This view on education really focuses on the students perspective, and views that students learn from the experiences happening around them. This famous experiment that Bandura conducted on children, shows the effect that adults have on how children view the world.
This video really demonstrates this idea that the things happening around a person really affect how they learn and what they do. This relates into the behavioral aspects of learning because, as we see from this video, people get behaviors from their experiences and what is happening around them. For instance, a child that has their father leave the family at a young age learns that this happening in their life is normal. My dad had this happen to him when he was about 6 years old, and he told me that he really could not identify the negative impacts that this traumatic experience had on him until he was much older. This also brings up the problem of children misbehaving in schools. If a child learns that fist-fighting is allowed in their home, then how do you expect them to act at school? All of these things lead me to conclude that a lot of the behavioral aspects of learning happen within a person’s living environment.
Now to compare, I would like to talk about the cognitive aspects of learning. As we talked about in our textbook, what educators are trying to do is take this information that they are teaching the students, and move it into their “working memory”. The working memory can basically be defined as the information that someone has readily available to use when the time arises. For example, a contractor that is building a house has the mental wherewithal on how to build a house in their working memory, otherwise they would not be able to build houses, and therefore be out of a contracting job. Ways in which we see educators try to bring the material learned in the classroom into the students memory, is by having them do types of “rehearsal”. Rehearsal are just methods of trying to further the newly learned information, into working memory. An example of rehearsal, would be someone using flashcards in order to repeat the material to themselves over and over again until they finally have it in their working memory. Based on all of this material, I am lead to believe that the cognitive aspects of learning are a lot more focused on how to use the brain in order to learn material better.
As we can see, there are differences between the cognitive and behavioral aspects of learning. The behavioral side focuses on the environment that student is being exposed, whereas the cognitive side focuses on what is going inside the persons brain. However, in both of these topics, the person is the focus, and the goal of looking at these aspects, is to decipher what causes people to learn more effectively, and what causes them to learn not as effectively. It is therefore very important that us future educators are making sure that we are knowledgeable of such topics, so that we can more effectively teach the students based on where there are at behaviorally or cognitively.
I used the video clip in the powerpoint from class and our text book:
Woolfolk, A. (2014). Educational psychology: Active learning edition. Pgs 312-326.