Review of Information Processing
Lisa V. Johnson
University of Houston
The chapter on Information Processing describes the process by which we take in and remember information. The author begins by explaining the theory and reminding the reader that the theory is one of the cognitive approaches to learning as opposed to a behavioral approach. The stages of Information Processing are identified and explained, and the reader is allowed to see the many facets information is processing into memory.
The name of the chapter is appropriate, as it is the name of the cognitive learning style being explained. The chapter also begins with a pictorial of a computer and its parts and relates them to the way that people learn. I find this to be an interesting, approach as it addresses more than one type of learner. The visual as well as spatial learner and others are included in this module. The author’s statements are clear and very similar to other authors that have written on this subject. He has cited seminal authors and their work as reference for his authority to present this information. There is an assumption however, that the reader is more than computer literate, it is assumed that the target audience has a working knowledge of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). The ideas progress in an easily followed direction as he starts with a general view of information processing and then follows through to a more specific description. We the readers start with the simplest step and are then given information that is more complex. That helps the reader to process the information in steps, just the way learning is explained in this chapter. The ideas are sorted for relevance appropriately, but at times toward the end, I had to re-read sections in the beginning to get a clear understanding of how the information was being tied together.
The author has used several sources to justify his information. He has given references to many of the seminal psychologists that have attempted to explain how one retains information using information processing. He has explained the theory and given examples in everyday life to help readers visualize his point. He has even included videos that show the reader his points. His information is defensible because other experts in a similar manner state the same information.
This information could be integrated into other subject areas because it is an explanation of how we store information. When one is studying math for instance, it is helpful to know that if I repeat a process in my head then I can hold on to it long enough to take a test. It also helps to know that it takes more than repetition to remember things past a few minutes. Company training would be enhanced if the executive understood the process by which information is retained.
The strength of this chapter is that it breaks the information down into bite-sized pieces that are easily digested for the average learner. I did not really have to know a lot about computers to get the point that the author was making about how the learning process is related to the computer memory process. I would have to know the subject matter better to improve the chapter. It is well written and is similar to information found in other books on this subject.
I was able to understand how the behaviorist and the cognitive theories are related from reading this chapter. I would evaluate this chapter as above average. It gives the information, the information is clear and understandable, but the analogies might need to be better explained to some audiences.