Cognition and Instruction/Preface

There is a significant body of research and theory on how cognitive psychology can inform teaching, learning, instructional design and educational technology. This book is for anyone with an interest in that topic, especially teachers, designers and students planning careers in education or educational research. It is intended for use in a 13-week undergraduate course and is structured so students can study one chapter per week. The book is more brief and concise than other textbooks about cognition and instruction because it is intended to represent only knowledge that can be mastered by all students in a course of that duration. The book prepares students who wish to pursue specialized interests in the field of cognition and learning but is not a comprehensive or encyclopedic resource.

The need for brevity has forced difficult decisions about what topics to include. We have chosen to exclude giftedness, special education, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and related topics. These aspects of educational psychology, so important for teachers, deserve fuller treatment than can be given here. For similar reasons we have mostly excluded the important topics of classroom management and assessment of learning. The book has no coverage of Piaget's stage theory of cognitive development (or any other stage theory) as decades of research have qualified and limited its reach to the point where it contributes little to our current understanding of cognitive learning processes in educational contexts.[1]

The later chapters in the book are dedicated to cognitive aspects of learning in the subjects of reading, mathematics and science. There are plans to add another chapter on writing. These chapters are intended for all students of cognition and instruction, not only those who will specialize in these subjects. Each subject-oriented chapter deals with cognitive phenomena that are particularly salient in one subject but also play a role in other subjects. For example, the barriers to learning presented by persistent, alternative conceptions acquired from prior experience have most often been studied in the context of science education but appear in many other contexts. Although there is no chapter on history and social studies, theory and research relevant to that subject is introduced in the chapters that deal with critical thinking, argumentation and learning from text and multimedia.

References edit

  1. American Psychological Association, Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education. (2015). Top 20 principles from psychology for preK-12 teaching and learning. Retrieved from (PDF, 662KB).