Cognitive styles of learning

Cognitive styles of learning

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 The cognitive theory of learning is a psychological theory which tends to explain human behaviors by understanding the thought processes. The assumption is that humans are logical beings who make the choice that makes the most sense to them; the information processing is a majorly used description of the mental processes, comparing the human to a computer. Purely cognitive theory does not accept behaviorism on the basis that it reduces the complex human behaviors to simple cause and effect. It is believed in the cognitive theory that human experience cannot be explained unless the whole experience is critically examined (Mettler, 1998).

The general assumptions of the cognitive styles are that:

·         Some learning experiences are unique to human beings

·         Cognitive processes are the focus of study whereby the mental events are common to human learning and therefore must be included in the theories of learning

·         Learning is a process of relating new information to previously learned information.

·         An individual’s knowledge is organized through various mental associations and structure

·         Learning entails the formation of mental associations that are not necessarily shown in observable behavior changes

·         The objective of systematic observations of people’s behavior should be the main focus of the scientific inquiry.

 Learning by cognitive styles, goes beyond learning by observation, imitating the behavior of others and following the instructions.  In cognitive learning, the learner has to participate actively in the learning session thus the learner should step up the listening skills. The instructor engages the learner to play a bigger role in the learning activity hence fostering learning. Cognitive learning is therefore less concerned with the visible behaviors and helps the learner to understand the concepts in memory and decision making (Kroese et al, 1997).  The cognitive styles therefore should be embraced in the field of academia since it widens the learner’s scope of understanding hence inculcating the learner’s creativity and the ability to comprehend, connect, store and reflect ideas.


Mettler, R. (1998). Cognitive learning theory and cane travel instruction: A new paradigm, DIANE Publishing.

Kroese, S. B., Dagnan, D., & Loumidis, K. ( 1997). Cognitive-behaviour therapy for people with learning disabilities, Routledge.



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