Module 2

Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

Conversations in blogs about cognitivism and learning theories in general are abundant. The two conversations linked below are examples of fascinating discussions in 2007 on cognitivism and behaviorism among three important thinkers: Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes, and Karl Kapp. While the discussions are several years old, the issues and questions they raise are still relevant today. Read these two blog posts, and then form a response to post in your own blog. Be sure to link to these posts in your blog and add tags for “learning theory” and “cognitivism,” along with any other topics you explore.
The “isms” are trendy to say the least.  I have to relate the theories to education as to when you are shopping for dresses.  Yes, I have 14 years working in retail while teaching.  So when you enter the store, you have the end in mind.  You know what you want to look like in the dress and how you want to feel much like a learning theory determines what the educational system is going to provide to the learners.  You go to a few racks, collect a few theories or dresses, unsure about what they are going to look like.  There is the teacher/customer, we must try everything on, or every theory must be tried on via the educational goals of the state or district.  But not every size 10 fits the size 10 girl, not every theory fits the learners’ learning process.  So the district/customer zips the dress up or part way and then moves on if the results are not what they should be.  Much like the “isms” the dresses are not all the same to fit every body type.  Kerr (2007) says “What I have noticed is that these _isms do not stand still. They evolve, they listen to criticism and move on.”  The dress gets hung back on the hanger and we find the next one or sometimes we have to go to the next store.

No child is alike and no learning theory is one size fits all.  I think of “Divergent.”  You can only be one of four choices.  This is not the case in learning.

Here are good sites to view summaries and even more “isms.”  I was really enthralled about how many “isms” there really are in learning theories.

How do they really learn?


Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Module 2

  1. Joy- What a wonderful description relating shopping with theories. I understood your comparison and agree with you that no theory or dress will suit everybody. Hang it back up and move on but remember some of the qualities connected to that theory/dress.
    Are you talking about the movie Divergent? And the division of people?


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