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The concept of situated cognition argues that learning is inherently tied to activity, for it is only through social, cultural, and physical contexts that a person can make meaningful connections and effectively learn new content. Merely memorizing facts is not the essential component of knowledge, it is argued; instead, one needs to be able to think critically about this information on the fly, incorporating social and cultural contexts with this information to forge new understandings and critical analyses about the information in this new environment.
Situated cognition marks a sharp change from traditional learning theory in that emphasis is no longer faced on mechanical absorption and repetition of facts. Further, learning is no longer seen on the individual level and is instead analyzed within the context of a social environment. Learning facts is not essential; learning concepts within the sort of environment and context that they will be used is much more effective at demonstrating one’s ability to learn. Immersing students in an appropriate environment where they can apply these concepts is a critical element of situated cognition; by placing the knowledge within a social and environmental construct, individuals are able to gain a deeper level of understanding. This allows them to not only retain the information but to have the ability to apply it to a number of given scenarios, demonstrating their functioning at higher levels of the educational taxonomy.