ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION In the middle of this century, learning theories were predominant in experimental psychology, but with the emergence of modern cognitive psychology, there was a shift of attention to studying the nature of competence that people attain. Cognitive psychology devoted itself primarily to steady-state performance, that is, to the results of development and learning; investigation of how performance was learned and acquired was largely set aside until performance itself was better understood (Newell

& Simon, 1972). We now return to the question of what these advances in understanding performance imply for theories of learning. In searching for current learning theory, I first review advances in cognitive psychology that should be influencing learning theory. Then I describe the nature of instructional experiments in which scientists are attempting to understand the phenomena of learning involved.