“It is next to impossible to learn a complex skill be observation alone. One does not learn to play the violin by watching Heifetz or the piano by observing Rubinstein.” – David Elkind.
To talk about complex concepts and the role it plays in cognitive learning with MonsoonSIM, one must first be aware of the different types of concepts—and what doesn’t classify as a concept at all—and what they entail.
What’s Not a Concept
A distinction can be made regarding what is considered a concept and what is not. The latter category—what’s not a concept—comprises of verbal information (simply recalling something from memory) and the first level of intellectual skills, namely discrimination (which is the ability to identify the difference between two classes of things).
Concrete or perceptual concepts
From a behaviourist point of view, which is mainly concerned with the observed behaviour as compared to internal acts such as thinking, the sorts of stimuli that are found in perceptual concepts can bear similarities to one another physically from a subject’s viewpoint (Zentall et al., 2002).
Also known as concrete concepts, particularly from Gagné’s learning taxonomy, these types of concepts are believed to enable a learner to classify things based from their physical features alone. For example, everyone can recognize a car or a cow when they see one, and be able to differentiate them easily.
Defined, relational and associated concepts
Taking on a behaviourist approach as well, relational concepts utilize the more abstract properties and characteristics of a stimuli (Zentall et al., 2002).
Associative concept learning, on the other hand, is when the stimuli within classes do not have clear or obvious physical resemblance to one another, but are cohesive with one another due to share functional properties (Zentall et al., 2002).
As for defined concepts, Gagné explains that abstract ideas and features would be needed to identify and classify them (as an example, this could be the concept of “assignment”, which can take in the form of a programming language, a political regime or any other thing in any particular field).
Finally, complex concepts take the form of constructs, like schemas and scripts, where they are often described through listing smaller concepts and features and through associating those concepts or taking actions including variants.
Complex concepts are formed from intricately interconnected ideas which need a deeper cognitive process to gain a full understanding. Often seen in fields such as sciences, philosophy, art, math and more, complex concepts usually need specific knowledge and expertise to understand. As an example, think of the specific terms in accounting; would someone who has never taken a business class before or experienced entrepreneurial pursuits firsthand be able to know what accounts payable, accruals, equity or book value mean?
While a huge part of the challenge is in understanding these complex concepts, an even greater difficulty is to convey and teach such complex concepts to learners. As teachers, professors and facilitators, it grows increasingly important to simplify these concepts and teach it in a way that’s easy to understand, grasp and apply for students.
Understanding Complex Concepts
Several research journals and academic papers have also strongly suggested implementing computer simulations to help learn such complex concepts (DiSessa, 2000; Dede et al., 1999; Squire 2004, de Jong & Joolingen, 1998).
Furthermore, as mentioned previously, the best way to teach complex concepts such as those found in business management and studies is to break it down into simpler, smaller ideas and then bridge those components together to become an integrated unit that is the complex concept students wish to learn.
Cognitive Learning With MonsoonSIM
MonsoonSIM, as the cloud-based ERP experiential learning platform, is the ideal solution. Successfully integrating over thirteen interconnected business departments simulating the real-world processes and environment, MonsoonSIM provides the best opportunity for learners to grasp these complex concepts.
Students would be able to learn countless complex business concepts, among them in the field of accounting, economics, finance, management, logistics, human resources, data analytics and more, within a business context as they run their virtual business in a very competitive environment. MonsoonSIM’s technology and platform features, among them the AI-based teaching assistants to assist the learning process and also robots that both compete and support the learners as they operate their virtual business, serve to enhance cognitive learning and enrich the education that students receive.
With regards to complex concepts and cognitive learning, MonsoonSIM looks forward to supporting more students worldwide in a way where there’s more to learn, easier to learn!