Cognitive Flexibility Theory

Cognitive flexibility is an intrinsic property of a cognitive system often associated with the mental ability to adjust its activity and content, switch between different task rules and corresponding behavioral responses, maintain multiple concepts simultaneously and shift internal attention between them.[1] The term cognitive flexibility is traditionally used to refer to one of the executive functions.[2] In this sense, it can be seen as neural underpinnings of adaptive and flexible behavior. Most flexibility tests were developed under this assumption several decades ago. Nowadays, cognitive flexibility can also be referred to as a set of properties of the brain that facilitate flexible yet relevant switching between functional brain states... An alternative educational approach informed by cognitive flexibility is hypertext, which is frequently computer-supported instruction. Computers allow for complex data to be presented in a multidimensional and coherent format, allowing users to access that data as needed. The most widely used example of hypertext is the Internet, which dynamically presents information in terms of interconnection (e.g. hyperlinks). Hypertext documents, therefore, include nodes – bits of information – and links, the pathways between these nodes. Applications for teacher education have involved teacher-training sessions based on video instruction, whereby novice teachers viewed footage of master teachers conducting a literacy workshop. In this example, the novice teachers received a laserdisc of the course content, a hypertext document that allowed the learners to access content in a self-directed manner. These cognitive flexibility hypertexts (CFH) provide a "three-dimensional" and "open-ended" representation of material for learners, enabling them to incorporate new information and form connections with preexisting knowledge.[39] While further research is needed to determine the efficacy of CFH as an instructional tool, classrooms where cognitive flexibility theory (CFT) is applied in this manner are hypothesized to result in students more capable of transferring knowledge across domains.

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