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Complex Cognitive Processes Woolfolk, Cluster 8. Overview Learning and Teaching about Concepts Problem Solving Teaching for Positive Transfer. Concepts categories of similar ideas, events, objects, or people-grouped on the basis of similar commonalities

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Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8

Complex Cognitive ProcessesWoolfolk, Cluster 8


Learning and Teaching about Concepts

Problem Solving

Teaching for Positive Transfer

Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8


  • categories of similar ideas, events, objects, or people-grouped on the basis of similar commonalities

  • abstraction that does not exist in the real world

  • ways to organize information into manageable units

  • we connect concepts to our schematic knowledge

    Example:A Bird. Concept helps us organize the amounts of information. There are many different kinds of birds but we can categorize them into many groups to understand the diversity of birds.

    Key Terms:

    Defining Attributes- distinctive features shared by members of a category. Bird-all have feathers

    Prototype- best representative of a group- Bird- Blue Jay

    Exemplars- specific example or memory of a given category that is used to classify an item. You have a pool in your backyard-you compare all other pools to yours

    Most of the time, prototypes are built from experiences with many exemplars and over time creating prototypes.

Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8

Concept Attainment

Lesson Components-

-name of the concept

-definition of the concept

-examples and non-examples (to set the boundaries)

-relevant and irrelevant attributes

Lesson Structure

-present examples and non-examples before discussion of attributes and/or definitions

-use a variety of examples to avoid under/overgeneralization

undergeneralization-exclusion of a true member of a category/limiting category

overgeneralization-inclusion of nonmembers in a

category/overextending a concept

-Concept Mapping

Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8

  • Teaching Concepts through Discovery

    • structure is the essential information underlying what is being studied

    • students must actively identify the principles for themselves—not just accept book/teacher’ explanations

    • inductive reasoning

    • give students a chance to develop their intuitive thinking

  • Teaching Concepts through Exposition

    • meaningful verbal learning vs. rote learning

    • teachers present information in an organizational way, materials delivered most efficiently

    • learning should progress deductively—general to specific

    • advanced organizers

      • comparative organizers activate already existing schemas

      • expository organizers provide new information that students will need for future understanding

    • Steps: 1) present advanced organizer 2) present basic similarities and differences, using specific examples

Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8

  • Problem Solving-creating new solutions for problems

    • problem-any situation in which you are trying to reach some goal and must find a means to do so

    • general problem solving strategy IDEAL

      • Identify problems and opportunities

      • Define goals and represent the problem

      • Explore possible strategies

      • Anticipate outcomes and Act

      • Look back and Learn

    • Defining…

      1)focusing attention 2)understanding the words

      3)understanding the whole problem 4) translation and schema

      5) results of problem representation

    • Exploring possible solutions

      • Schema-Driven-recognizing a problem as a “disguised” version of an old problem for which you already know the solution

      • Algorithms-step-by-step prescription for solving a problem

      • Heuristics-general strategies that might lead to the right answer

        • Means-End Analysis

        • Working backward Strategy

        • Analogical Thinking

        • Distance Reduction

Complex cognitive processes woolfolk cluster 8

  • Factors that Hinder Problem Solving

    • Functional fixedness-the inability to consider unconventional uses for materials that have a specific function

    • Response sets- tendency to respond in the most familiar way

    • Lack of flexibility

  • Effective Problem Solvers

    • large storage of domain knowledge

    • quickly recognize patterns

    • background knowledge that is elaborated and well practiced and

    • can be used to organize information for easier learning and retrieval

    • condition-action schemas

    • elaborated and well practiced knowledge

    • spend time analyzing

    • planning and monitoring

How can you create expert students
How Can You Create Expert Students?

  • Expert Students are:

    • cognitively engaged

    • focus attention and effort

    • monitor understanding

    • process information deeply

  • Expert Students Possess:

    • several different learning strategies and tactics

    • conditional knowledge of when to use various strategies

      • when to use

      • where to use

      • why to use

    • desire to employ learning strategies

    • may need direct instruction in schematic knowledge: how

    • to identify main ideas

Learning strategies and tactics
Learning Strategies and Tactics

  • Learning Strategies

    • deciding what is important

    • creating summaries

    • underlining and highlighting

    • taking notes

  • Examples of Learning Tactics-Table 23.1, p. 291

  • Visual Tools for Organizing

    • Maps and charts

    • Concept Maps

    • Timelines

    • Reading Strategies

      • READS




Transfer of learning
Transfer of Learning

  • Low Road: spontaneous and automatic transfer of highly practiced skills with little need for reflective thinking

  • High Road: conscious application of abstract knowledge in one situation to another

  • Forward-reaching: looking forward to applying the knowledge

  • Backward-reaching: looking back to other problems to solve a current one

  • Specific transfer- when knowledge is applied to a very similar situation

  • General transfer- when knowledge is applied to a dissimilar situation

  • Stages of Transfer

    • Acquisition Phase: Teach new strategy and how to use it

    • Retention Phase: Practice a strategy: Give feedback

    • Transfer Phase: give new problem: Use the same strategy