Journey to Excellence

Social Cognition


The social cognition learning model asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual development. Humans are the only species to have created culture, and every human child develops in the context of a culture. A child's learning development is affected in ways large and small by the culture—including the culture of family environment—in which he or she is enmeshed.


Curriculum : Since children learn much through interaction, curricula should be designed to emphasize interaction between learners and learning tasks.

Instruction : With appropriate adult help, children can often perform tasks that they are incapable of completing on their own. With this in mind, scaffolding—where the adult continually adjusts the level of his or her help in response to the child's level of performance—is an effective form of teaching. Scaffolding not only produces immediate results, but also instills the skills necessary for independent problem solving in the future.

Assessment : Assessment methods must take into account the zone of proximal development. What children can do on their own is called the level of actual development, and what they can do with help is called the level of potential development. Two children might have the same level of actual development, but given the appropriate help from an adult, one might be able to solve many more problems than the other. Assessment methods must target both the level of actual development and the level of potential development.

Website Resources

Funderstanding on Vygotsky

Information about Vygotsky and his work.

A description of Lev Vygotsky’s social development theory.

Applying learning theories to online instructional design including Vygotsky’s social learning.

A description of Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development.

An article in which Vygotsky analyzes Piaget's developmental theory.

More Social Cognition Resources on CIRCLE

WARNING: Teachers are responsible to ensure that materials selected for use reflect Seventh-day Adventist philosophy.

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