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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Different Cognitive Learning Strategies - Some Tips and Suggestions

By Andrew Loh

Children have different cognitive learning strategies to refine their intellect and skills. Cognitive learning is a lifelong process that involves honing several mental processes. Different children use different strategies to learn in a cognitive way. Here are some examples of different cognitive learning strategies.

Impulsive and Reflective Learners

Some children would like to give very rapid answer rather than a right answer. If this is the case, then your child is learning in an impulsive way. Most of them find concentrating and focusing on their lessons very difficult. Distractions are very common to these children. With lapses in concentration levels, children cannot pay attention to their lessons for a long time. Quick paced and crisp assignments may fit the mental makeup of such children.

Asking questions before and then instructing them to find the answer in their textbooks are the best possible way of teaching. Another method is to ask one question at a time and seek answers for the questions. It may not be possible to control this trait in children because it is an inherited quality.

On the other hand, reflective learners are often too much concerned with their learning process. They seem to be overtly focused and their deep concentration levels make quick decisions almost impossible. In fact, they are known for their delayed responses and decisions that eventually make them difficult for quick learning. Reflective learners are very methodic and slow type of learners, while impulsive ones are very quick and disorganized learners. Impulsive learners are globalized in their thinking process and they can create a quick mental picture of patterns and objects or even outlines of lessons.

A typical school lesson plan suits a reflective learner very well because of school demand attention, concentration and focusing in their classrooms. On the other hand, impulsive learners find very difficult to cope with the rigorous schedules of the classroom.

Low and high conceptual learners

Different cognitive learning technologies control learning process in children. In nature, some children are low conceptual learners. On the other hand, many of them are high conceptual learners. The former learners are bogged down with rules and restrictions of their classrooms and are not endowed with the art of creating concepts and ideas in their mind. However, they are categorical type of thinkers who can crystallize the lessons they learn in their classroom. At times, they find the process of streamlining their own learning very difficult.

On the other hand, some children use a different cognitive learning technology like high conceptual learning. High conceptual learners are capable of setting their own rules, define concepts and ideas and use different viewpoints to learn their lessons. Most of them are self-assertive and demanding and can easily handle and manage difficult conceptual learning materials. Low conceptual learners need support from their teachers. They also learn better, when teachers use a discovery type of approach. They also need highly specific examples that can hammer the point home in a subtle way. On the other hand, high conceptual learners are very quick learners and they use an inventive type of approach to learn their lessons. General classroom work, project assignments and sundry assignments suit high conceptual learners very much.

Simultaneous and Successive Learning

This is a very curious example of cognitive learning technology because it separates learning process in two distinctive ways. Successive learning is a unique learning style because children use a sequential approach of grading language and sound and are very good readers and comprehensive learners. On the contrary, children who use a simultaneous learning approach are very good in spatial-conceptual tasks like finding differences in volume, height and length.

In fact, they are very good in finding differences between two concepts. For example, they can easily use concepts like “bigger than”, “narrower than”, “above”, “inside” and “taller than”. In other words, they are very good at arranging the available information to create a big picture. Children, who deploy a simultaneous approach, are very good in visual and motor tasks, whereas successive learners are good in visual, verbal (oral) and auditory tasks.

Whatever the different cognitive learning styles are, both teachers and parents have a big task ahead of them. Finding out the exact cognitive learning style is a touch task and training them to learn a particular style is laborious as well. Cognition in children is an in-built mechanism. You may not be able to change the basic learning style. However, you may try to streamline the thinking process that leads to a better learning outcome. Cognitive learning styles are very critical for your children's success. Therefore, understanding more about a particular cognitive learning style is advantageous and useful.

Featured Resource

Cognitive Styles and Learning Strategies: Understanding Style Differences in Learning and Behavior
By Richard Riding

Cognitive style may well turn out to be the missing element in the study of individual differences. This book reviews and integrates research on style differences in learning and behaviour and describes the Cognitive Styles Analysis which provides a simple and effective method of assessing style in children and adults.

As both a textbook and a source of reference for professionals working in a range of contexts, it aims to help teachers and trainers reflect on and assess their effectiveness. The authors provide insights into personal and professional behaviour for counsellors and personnel professionals, and offer a framework for future research for psychologists.


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