Cognitive learning and memory

The following review is an overview of cognitive learning and human memory. Being able to store information in the long-term memory is the focus of this study. In the field of education, it is our goal to teach the student the content material in an effective manner so that it is understood, processed, and stored in the memory in a manner in which the student can recall the information at will.

When considering cognitive processes, we generally take the senses into account. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell is information being interpreted by the brain. Therefore in the classroom, it is necessary for a student to control their senses and focus their attention on learning. Paying attention is necessary for the learning process to attain maximum effectiveness. Maintaining student attention is a difficult process, but a necessary process for teachers to engage in. As a result, educators need to arrange their lesson plans in a manner that is designed with the intention of keeping their students attention so the learning process can be maximized.

When organizing lesson plans and when considering teaching strategies, it is important to reflect on the meaning of perception and how it applies to the classroom and in general as an educator. Perception is identified as being an immediate or intuitive cognition or judgement. Who we are, how we think, why we think, and the way we think, all determine our interpretation of everything that happens. Thus as educators, while it is our focus to instruct in the content area, it is similarly important to be sure the students are aware, to some extent, of perception and how it can help and/or inhibit the learning process. For example, such primitive ideologies such as hate, can lead to a negative and delusional perception of reality. This then can inhibit cognitive growth and it can destroy the learning process in some cases.

Encoding information in the long-term memory is most naturally done through “rote learning.” Rote learning is the process of storing information one piece at a time. When we memorize information, we gradually absorb, process, and retain the information. Imagery helps us visualize ideas and this helps to improve our ability to remember. The dual-coding theory suggests that our memories have two systems, one for verbal information and one for images. Organizing content material will help us teach the material more efficiently and it will help our students organize the material better as well which will help them remember it better.

“Schema Activation” is an encoding strategy that involves activating prior knowledge in order to connect new knowledge to it with the intent of strengthening a students understanding and enhancing the learning process. After this “bridge” connects the old knowledge with the new, the educator then needs to elaborate on the knowledge being presented. Analogies are proven to be an effective elaboration strategy. Mnemonics are memory strategies that create associations that don’t exist naturally in the content. These have been proven to work well.

In order to learn well, the students need to pay attention carefully and want to learn. We can apply all of the aforementioned concepts and more in order to provide a catalyst of sorts for the learning process. After the lesson has taken place and time as passed, students will often times forget knowledge or have issues retrieving the information. In order to avoid this, the educator must teach with a high level of meaningfulness so the students will be able to remember better.

Metacognition is our awareness of and our control over our cognitive process, meta-attention is our awareness of and our control over our ability to pay attention, and metamemory is our knowledge and control over memory strategies. It is necessary for educators to be familiar with these processes and effectively use them in the classroom. Developmental differences will vary among students. It is important to be aware of the levels of development in order to avoid overloading or underloading the amount of information being processed.

Giving students assignments, quizzes, and exams will give the teacher hard data to collect and score while being free of bias. It is important that teachers grade fairly and honestly. The assignments, quizzes, and exams need to be crafted in a manner that is ideal for helping the students learn and remember content information. As with anything, the more one practices, generally, the better one gets. Study and more study is necessary for students to achieve a complete understanding. Remembering to employ the meaning of the term “equitable distribution” is important in an educators overall approach. Intending and genuinely working to help all students equally is absolutely necessary for one to be a good teacher. Embracing the following thoughts and ideas and making them a part of the classroom environment will help educators disseminate information with greater effectiveness.


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