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Introduction to Cognition

Know your Learners
Cognitive Processes
© Universiti Malaya

Cognition quite simply means thinking. Cognition is defined as the processes an organism uses to organize information (The Stimulated Brain, 2014).

When we are doing something or trying to learn something it is cognition (as it requires thinking). Cognition includes all conscious and unconscious processes (shown in the diagram) by which knowledge is accumulated. Cognition is a state or experience of knowing that can be distinguished from an experience of feeling or willing (Augustyn, Encylopaedia Britannica, 2022).

As our brain thinks about one thing or another, processes such as attention, and complex mental operations such as problem solving, and reasoning occur to help us to organise our thoughts, to carry out tasks, or to solve everyday problems (Smith & Kelly, 2015).

Every day as we interact with the environment and people around us, cognition helps us to understand all the complex information we receive and process. There are numerous educational psychological theories to explain how learners’ think. The course will highlight several selected theories of learning from the early and the late 20th Century till the present. The theorists have put forward explanations as to how the process or mechanism of learning occurs in our brains based on scientific study.

© Universiti Malaya
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Know Your Learners: Visualising Learning in Education

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