Jean Piaget: Cognitive Learning Theory

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Cognitive Learning Theory
Recognizes that humans develop cognitively along a predictable path, in four stages: Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational.
Stage 1: Sensorimotor stage
Infants learn of their environments through sensation and movement.
Stage 2: Preoperational stage
Toddlers and young children develop language and the use of symbols to represent ideas and objects.
Stage 3: Concrete Operation stage
Elementary school children and early adolescents begin understanding abstract concepts such as numbers and relationships, but require concrete examples to do so.
Stage 4: Formal Operation stage
Adolescents and adults gain the capacity for hypothetical and deductive reasoning. They no longer need concrete examples to grasp abstract concepts.
Egocentrism
The belief that you are the centre of the universe and everything revolves around you: the corresponding inability to see the world as someone else does and adapt to it. Not moral “selfishness”, just an early stage of psychological development.
Assimilation
The process by which a person takes material into their mind from the environment, which may mean changing the evidence of their senses to make it fit.
Accommodation
The difference made to one’s mind or concepts by the process of assimilation.
Note that assimilation and accommodation go together: you can’t have one without the other.
Classification
The ability to group objects together on the basis of common features.
Adaptation
Adapting to the world through assimilation and accommodation
Conservation
The realisation that objects or sets of objects stay the same even when they are changed about or made to look different.
Centration
Tendency to focus on one aspect of a situation and neglect others (focusing on length without considering density).
Decentration
The ability to move away from one system of classification to another one as appropriate.

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