Cognitivism places importance on thought processes and acquiring information. Mental processes are shaped by our experiences. This shapes how we process new information. Social Cognitivism states the learner is an active participant in learning and motivation plays a strong role.

Cognitive load is the amount of effort it takes to process something in working memory. Working memory holds 5-9 items of information at a time (Atkinson and Shiffrin “Human Memory” – 1968) so it’s important to reduce cognitive load:

  • Break content into smaller segments
  • Use a combination of audio and visual communication
  • Omit non-essential information
  • Place words near the corresponding imagery


In Connectivism, digital technology expands our network of tools, resources, and people when learning. Learners must think critically when choosing information sources. Constructivism and Connectivism both take social and cultural influences into account.

Personal Experience 

At age 14, I wanted to build my own website so I used Connectivism to learn HTML code. I searched (Ask Jeeves) for HTML tutorials. I used for tutorials, Notepad for typing code, and Internet Explorer for testing/debugging.

The sites also used Cognitivism, reducing cognitive load with bite-sized segments for learning technical knowledge with ease. Tutorial images were placed beside the corresponding text. All of this built self-efficacy.

Learn more in my blog post about Connectivism and Cognitivism.


MacLeod, Saul. (2016). Bandura – Social Learning Theory.
Retrieved from

Siemans, George (2005). “Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age”
Retrieved from

Atkinson and Shiffrin. (1968). ”Human Memory”.

Guyan, Matthew. (2013, November 1). “5 Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in eLearning”.