Cognitive structure is defined as the set of concepts and ideas that an individual possesses about a particular field of knowledge, and the way in which you organized. In the orientation process of learning to acquire new knowledge, it is vitally important to know the student’s cognitive structure, not just a question of knowing how much information they have, but also what are the concepts and propositions which currently manages, and their degree of stability, ie that students have a good mastery of previously acquired knowledge. Human experience involves not only thinking, but also the emotions and only to consider them together enables the individual is to enrich the meaning of their experience. Learning principles proposed by Ausubel, provide the framework for the design of metacognitive tools that provide insight into the organization of the learner’s cognitive structure, allowing better orientation of the educational work, and it will not look like a work to be developed with “white minds” or that the student learning begins from “zero” because it is not, but that learners have a number of experience and knowledge that affect their learning and can be used for their benefit. This tells us that as long there is to know the tools of human cognitive structure, and thus be able to apply teaching techniques. Ausubel summarizes this fact as follows: “If I had to reduce all educational psychology to one principle, enunciate this: The most important factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach accordingly.” As we see Ausubel attaches great importance to the cognitive structure.
Ausubel’s theory is cognitive. Explain the process of learning according to cognitivism. It is concerned with the processes of compression, processing, storage and use of information involved in cognition. The concept of cognition (Latin: cognoscere, “know”) refers to the ability of people to process information from the perception, the acquired knowledge and subjective characteristics to evaluate and consider some aspects over others. Ausubel contends that the cumulative set of concepts in the cognitive structure of each student is unique.
Each person will construct different conceptual links but are involved in the same learning task. Each individual forms a series of conceptual blocks and organized as it is easier to understand and memorize them. The materials can be learned significantly held for relatively long period of time, months or even years. Therefore the cognitive structure is forged during this time. Combinatorial learning occurs when new ideas are potentially significant, because they can relate, because of their similarity, with content appropriate to the overall cognitive structure. The cognitive structure is not static but dynamic, constantly amending and reorganizing for meaningful learning. There are two basic processes: progressive differentiation: as new ideas are incorporated by an element subsumers, they acquire meaning and subsumers element is modified by the incorporation of additional meanings. This process determines a progressive differentiation subsumers item. Reconciliation inclusive: superordinate learning or combinatorial, while new information is acquired, the constituent elements of cognitive structure can reorganize and acquire new meanings, leading to an inclusive reconciliation that involves a progressive differentiation. Conclusions: As seen in this article Ausubel is very focused on the cognitive structure in explaining all their work. Ausubel’s theory is cognitive work but focuses on teaching and learning we have seen that is firmly based on the cognitive structure and now day this explained how teaching techniques should be applied to adults, as such, not as they were in the age of childhood.