Difference Between Cognitive & Constructivist Theories

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Cognitive and constructivist theories are two types of learning theories. A learning theory is an explanation of how individuals learn and adapt to new things. Cognitive and constructivist theories are related to each other, although each has unique characteristics. Both theories were created by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist and philosopher, popularly known for his theories in cognitive development.

1 Cognitive Theory

Cognitive theory states that humans learn and make decisions based on what is the most logical thing to learn and do. In simpler terms, humans think like computers in such a way that logic is the top mechanism used in learning. It presupposes that the learning process is merely based on intellect, without any emotional factors.

2 Constructivist Theory

Constructivism, although unique, primarily stems from cognitive theory. If cognitive theory believes that learning is a logical process without any emotion or humanistic factor, constructivism believes that learning is a combination of logic and humanistic approaches. For example, constructivism believes that individuals interpret information on their own, integrating what is learned from others. This means that people learn together by themselves in unison while viewing the habits of other people.

3 Cognitive Constructivism

Cognitive constructivism refers to the process that combines the logic of cognitive behavior and the personal approach of constructivist behavior. In this process, the individual uses logic to understand things, and couples it with a different learning style that comes from a behavioral and humanistic factor. It also integrates developmental stages into the theory of learning, meaning a person’s age and educational background are taken into account when learning.

4 Cognitive Development

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development has four main ideas related to cognitive theory and constructivist theory: schema, assimilation, accommodation and equilibration. “Schema” refers to the person’s own idea or account of a certain type of information. This includes simple processes, such as using one’s eyes to establish a personal opinion (cognitive). “Assimilation” refers to the concept that schemas often change based on what the person experiences (constructivist), while “accommodation” refers to the impact of the assimilation that occurred, integrating past and present experiences (cognitive constructivism). "Equilibrium" encompasses the balance between assimilation and accommodation.

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