David P. Ausubel (1918 - ) contributed much to cognitivelearning theory in his explaination of meaningful verbal learning which he sawas the predominant method of classroom learning.
To Ausubel, meaning was aphenomenon of consciousness and not of behavior. The external world acquiresmeaning when it is converted into the "content of consciousness." Hebelieved that a signifier (ie. word) has a meaning when its effect upon thelearner is equivalent to the effect of the object it signifies.
Bruner believedwhen there is "...some form of representational equivalence betweenlanguage (or symbols) and mental content," then there is meaning. Hebelieved there are two processes involved in cognitive learning: the receptionprocess and the discovery process. What he termed receptionprocesses are almost exclusively used in meaningful verbal learning. Concept formation and problem solving are more likely, according to Ausubel, toinvlove discovery processes.
Ausubel felt discovery learning techniques are often uneconomical,inefficient, and ineffective. He felt most school learning is verbal learning(receptive learning).
Subsequent research has shown that verbal learning is most effective forrapid learning and retention and that discovery learning is most effective infacilitating transfer.