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Although cognitive psychology currently represents the mainstream of psychological and educational thinking, it is only recently that much concern has been shown for learning as such - that is, concern for the factors and/or variables that influence changes in human performance, knowledge structures, and/or conceptions. This article examines current thinking about learning within the framework of cognitive psychology and how a new, cognitive conception of learning can guide future research on both learning and instruction. Similarities and difference between behavioral and cognitive conceptions of learning are discussed, along with issues such as the active (rather than passive) nature of learning, the concern for understanding (i.e., comprehension), the role of prior knowledge, the cumulative nature of most forms of human learning, and the role played by cognitve analyses of performance. Several cognitive theories of learning are presented as examples of how cognitive psychology has influenced research on learning.
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