CognitiveModelFinal - A C o n g ti ih v e M d lS f r L a m...

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Cognitive Model Printed 1/22/2010 1 A C ogn it iv e M od e l fo r L ea rn in g C h em is try and S o lv g P rob lem s Implications for Curriculum Design and Classroom Instruction David M. Hanson Department of Chemistry, Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400 A cognitive model for learning is a representation of the mental processes associated with acquiring new knowledge. In order to be maximally effective, teaching needs to be consistent with a valid model for the learning process. A cognitive model for learning chemistry and solving problems is derived from Johnstone's information processing model, the tenets of how people learn, and research on problem solving. The implications of this model for the development of curriculum materials and instructional strategies are described. Introduction Over 25 years ago Frederick Reif, a physicist at the University of California Berkeley, described a gap that existed between two groups interested in learning: cognitive scientists and educators. He characterized the cognitive scientists as thinking analytically, striving to develop theoretical models, and conducting experiments to test and validate the models, but not being concerned
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Cognitive Model Printed 1/22/2010 2 with questions directly relevant to practical educational practice. He characterized educators as being dedicated to their classroom teaching, but approaching their task intuitively and ignoring experimental validation and theoretical models in designing instruction. His conclusion was that "work in education and problem solving could profit substantially if this gap were bridged, if people interested in practical education would build upon the insights and methods of the cognitive scientists, and if educators were to adopt modes of analytical thinking and quality standards of the kind prevalent in other sciences." (1) Much progress in this direction has been made over the last 25 years. The issue has been discussed in articles, (2, 3) books have been written with the intent of bringing research-based knowledge to classroom practice, (4-6) and a new prestigious Physical Review journal, Physics Education Research, has been inaugurated along with an American Chemical Society award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry . The on-going goal, as Reif saw it, is to elucidate how the human learning system works, and use this knowledge to address the complementary issue of how to make it work better. Reif anticipated that this endeavor would lead to several outcomes. Among others, one was the development of models describing mental knowledge structures and the execution of high-level tasks, and another was more effective methods of teaching students. (1) In this chapter, a cognitive model for learning chemistry and solving problems is constructed from information in the research literature and implications for the design of instruction and curriculum are identified. The objective is to provide a foundation for the development of more effective
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2010 for the course CHE 132 taught by Professor Hanson during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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CognitiveModelFinal - A C o n g ti ih v e M d lS f r L a m...

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