Cognitivism Learning Theory

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Definition of Learning according to Cognitivism Learning Theory is a change in perception and understanding. Changes in perception and understanding are not always in the form of changes in behavior that can be observed (compared to Behaviorism Theory).
cognitivism learning theory
The basic assumption of this theory is that everyone has had the experience and knowledge within himself. Experience and knowledge is organized in the form of cognitive structure. According to this theory, learning process will work well when new learning material adapts (continuous) "fits" to the cognitive structure that has been owned by the learners.

In the development, there are at least three learning theories that start from this cognitivism theory, namely Piaget Theory, Bruner Theory and Ausubel Theory.

1. Piaget Developmental Theory
Explanations of this theory are as follows:
a. Learning process occurs according to the pattern of certain developmental steps based on the age of the students.
b. The process of learning through the steps of: 
(1) Assimilation is adjusting process of new knowledge to students' cognitive structure.
(2) Accommodation is adjusting process of the cognitive structure of students to new knowledge.
(3)Equilibration is a mental balancing process after a process of assimilation or accommodation.
c. During the process of assimilation and accommodation occur, it is believed to be a change of cognitive structure in the minds of students. Sometime the process of change will stop. To achieve this, it takes equilibration or balancing processes. If the process is successful well, then it is formed a new cognitive structure in students, such as harmonious unification between the old knowledge and new knowledge.

2. Bruner Cognitive Theory 
Explanations of Bruner Cognitive Theory are as follows:
a. The learning process is determined more by how we measure the subject, and it is not determined by the age of the students.
b. The process of learning through the steps of: 
(1) Enactive is the activity of the student to understand the environment.
(2) Iconic, the students see the world through images and verbal visualization.
(3) Symbolic, the students understand abstract ideas.
c. In enactive step, a student does observation by experiencing a reality directly. In iconic step, students observe a reality, but they do not directly experience it, they just do it through secondary source such as text or images. In symbolic step, students create abstractions such theories, interpretation, analyses, and so on to the reality that they observed and experienced.

3. Ausubel Meaningful Theory 
The explanations are as follows:
a. Learning process occurs when students are able to assimilate the knowledge that they have with the new knowledge.
b. The process of learning through the steps of: 
(1) Paying attention to the given stimulus.
(2) Understanding the meaning of the stimulus.
(3) Storing and using information that has been already understood.

Critics of Cognitivism Learning Theory 
1. This theory is often criticized as being closer to psychology than to learning theory, so the application in the learning process is not easy.
2. This theory is also considered difficult to be practiced purely because we are impossible in understanding the cognitive structures that exist in the mind of every student, especially sorting out the cognitive structures into discrete parts or clear boundaries.
3. In advanced step, it is often not easy to understand and identify the knowledge that already exists in the minds of students. Oftentimes, the knowledge and experience of the students are too complex to be identified thoroughly, especially by only one or two pre-test.

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