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1 One of the three domains of learning (the others being affective and psychomotor) and denoting that area of learning which is to do with thinking (cognition) and understanding. See also knowledge.

2 A branch of learning theory concerned with how and why learning takes place, which argues that thinking is central to the learning process. Cognitivists argue that learning is not, as behaviourists claim, simply a matter of behaviour modification, but involves the student gaining knowledge not only through the acquisition of new learning, but also through a process of adapting or discarding old constructs or ideas which no longer fit their developing insight into the world. Cognitivist learning theory argues for a learner‐centred approach to teaching and learning, where the structuring and sequencing of learning is of key importance to the success of the learning experience. It suggests that knowledge is not an object to be dispensed or acquired, but a process. In terms of learning theory, two of the most widely recognized names among the cognitivists are Dewey and Bruner.

Subjects: Education.

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