When the Cognitive Revolution overturned Behaviorism as the dominant paradigm of learning, many people believed cognitivism to be radically different than behaviorism as it tried to explain many of the characteristics of learning that behaviorism failed to account for. For example, behaviorism emphasized only the change in outward behavior, which they defined as learning. Behaviorism declares the mechanistic and deterministic views of the law of effect, classical and operant conditioning, and ultimately the explanation of learning due purely to biological factors. Behaviorism considers factors such as reinforcement history and maturation levels in affecting the ability it learn, and emphasizes maintaining learned behavior through repeated reviews of expectations and schedules of reinforcement.
Cognitivism, on the other hand, defines learning more broadly to include a change in thinking, beliefs, attitudes, and values. It emphasizes the role of the mind as a schematic network and recognizes the importance of prior knowledge in making new connections. Ultimately, learning is compared to a computer model of processing information, which includes many processes that cannot be seen or measured. Cognitivism focuses on the role of memory in storing and retrieving knowledge. Transfer is seen as being the goal of acquiring knowledge so that people can apply that knowledge in new domains. Also, Cognitivism recognizes the influence of motivation on learning in encouraging people to learn things to a greater degree. Cognitivism accounts for more complex forms of thinking and learning.
Although these two theories have many significant differences, they also have some similarities. Although I feel the cognitive psychology went a lot further in explaining the nature of learning, it does not completely escape the criticisms of behaviorism as far as mechanism and determinism. According to Williams, even though the cognitive revolution tried to remedy...
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