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Thus, learners adapt and develop by assimilating and accommodating new information into existing cognitive structures.

Learners must face up to the limitations of their existing knowledge and accept the need to modify or abandon existing beliefs.Perry References Dissatisfaction with behaviorism’s strict focus on observable behavior led educational psychologists such as Jean Piaget and William Perry to demand an approach to learning theory that paid more attention to what went on “inside the learner’s head.” They developed a cognitive approach that focused on mental processes rather than observable behavior.Common to most cognitivist approaches is the idea that knowledge comprises symbolic mental representations, such as propositions and images, together with a mechanism that operates on those representations.Without some kind of internal drive on the part of the learner to do so, external rewards and punishments such as grades are unlikely to be sufficient.Thus, while cognitivists allow for the use of “skill and drill” exercises in the memorization of facts, formulae, and lists, they place greater importance on strategies that help students to actively assimilate and accommodate new material.

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