The resources I have read and watched this week provided a number of excellent instructional strategies that correlate to the cognitive learning theory. They help to strengthen memory and understanding by increasing engagement, making connections to previous learning, and by making the learning more meaningful, and thereby, increasing retention. Here are the strategies that I felt were the most applicable to my classroom situation and are ones that I would like to integrate more often into my practice:
Concept Mapping- I like the ideas about advance organizers on pages 75-76 in Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007). Our grade level takes various field trips during the year and having them research and create a brochure beforehand and then add to it after the experience is a wonderful strategy. It is a good way to activate prior learning and integrate new concepts into memory. I am looking forward to trying it!
Integration of Multiple Senses- In the video Cognitive Learning Theories, Dr. Orey (Laureate, 2011) states that information should be presented using as many senses as possible (visually, auditory, kinesthetically) for the learner to create a lasting memory. Technology in the classroom, and in particular, the use of a computer with a projector or a Smart board really facilitates this strategy. Students can see icons/pictures along with words and can manipulate these things to construct meaning. I use this strategy frequently in my classroom, but I am usually the one manipulating the computer and the students are more passive in watching and responding verbally. It would be more effective to have the students active in the process and be able to create and explore more of the content on their own computer or with a partner. Perhaps using the portable computer lab would facilitate interactive learning activities.
In Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007), the authors also suggest using multimedia (video, graphics) to activate background knowledge and to reach students with various learning styles. I often begin a new series of lessons with video clips or pictures and notice that my students are much more engaged when I do this, but I could definitely do this more often to make lessons more memorable.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.