Why is cognitive learning important?
Cognitive learning or Metacognition
Metacognition, is the awareness of the process of learning, is a critical ingredient to successful adult learning.
Knowing how to learn and knowing which strategies work best, are valuable skills that differentiate EXPERT learners from NOVICE adult learners.
Metacognition is an important concept in cognitive theory. It consists of two basic processes occurring simultaneously:
Why Are Cognitive Learning Strategies So Important?
It is a constant surprise to me to come across middle and senior managers who, have little or no awareness of how they or other adults learn, and what is required for them to optimise their own learning.
You are more likely to hear back comments like, "I prefer to learn hands on," or "I learn best by solving real problems."
These may be true insights, but fall short of a sophisticated understanding of adult learning.
Simply, cognitive learning is about being a confident learner. Having an understanding of the learning process, and specifically how to manage your own learning increases confidence and encourages independence.
Being more independent empowers learners to take more ownership of their own learning.A knowledge of their cognitive learning style can help people be more aware of their own learning, and their current strengths and weaknesses as an adult learner.
In other words ,all the advantages claimed for metacognition, (ie being aware of one’s own thought and learning processes)can be gained by encouraging all learners to become knowledgeable about their own learning, and that of others.
According to Sadler-Smith (2001, 300), the potential of such awareness lies in "enabling individuals to see, and to question, their long-held habitual behaviours"; individuals can be taught to monitor their selection and use of various learning styles and strategies.
Lets look at what might be included in metacognition?
Monitoring and Reflection:
It is not uncommon to see some of these elements in study techniques, but learning at work is often a lot more random and haphazard.
Many people simply don’t know which of the above key adult learning elements are critical for their own learning, and which are less important.
The idea of preparing yourself to learn, is also a difficult concept to get across in a fast moving reactive working environment.