Development Teaching Tools

Episode 84: How To Make Learning Fun Again Part 1 – Piaget

Jean Piaget
Image via Wikipedia

Can we make learning as fun as it was when you were a child? We can. Listen to Dr. Eugene Geist as he explains the cognitive development theories of Jean Piaget and you’ll understand why we are all geared to learn. We actively seek out learning experiences. How can we keep that excitement alive? Find out in this episode and in the episodes to follow as we examine ideas such as constructivism, problem-based Learning, inquiry-based learning and democratic schools. This episode will also be helpful if you need to learn the different stages of Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.




The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done. — Jean Piaget (1896-1980) Swiss cognitive psychologist.

Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development


  • Approximate ages: 0-2
  • An understanding of object permanence is achieved at the conclusion of this stage
  • When a child’s expectations of what is supposed to happen are not met, confusion disequalibrium results.
  • Confusion disequalibrtum can be resolved through assimilation in which you try to fit the new information into with what you already know
  • Confusion disequalibrium can also be resolved through accommodation in which you create a new “folder””, a new category in your brain’s understanding of the world.
  • Learning is an active process. Our understanding of the world becomes more complex – a :building process: (thus the term constructivism).


  • Approximate ages: 2-6
  • Pre-logical thinking – children think intuitively
  • Children can use symbols
  • Ego-centrism lessons at the end of this phase
  • Still believe in Santa Claus
  • conservation tasks are difficult to solve

Concrete Operations

  • Approximate ages: 7-12
  • Children like to have more logical explanations at this age
  • Manipulatives are helpful in the learning process
  • Can think logically and a little bit abstractly, but not well with hypothetical situations

Formal Operations

  • Approximate ages: 7-12
  • Characterized by a more free flowing logic
  • Can deal with hypothetical situations

Key point of Piaget: children are not empty vessels as the behaviorists might say. Instead, they interact with their world because they want to learn.



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  1. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    As a way to support the podcast, I put all of my mnemonic videos and images into my new app for iOS and Android. It’s a couple bucks but there are over 60 mnemonics in the app and it’ll be really helpful. Here are the links to the Psych Mnemonics app:



  2. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Your mnemonics are great! I have my Psych exam tomorrow and have been watching your youtubes since yesterday, so helpful. I was wondering where I can find the images you said would be on your website for Piaget’s theory of cognitive development?

    Cheers, Kinta

  3. Avatar

    Charley Gihiala

    January 19, 2009

    I have tried combining it with mind castle and it I was happy with the results. It was truly fun visualizing sets of pictures on the front door, TV screen, dinning table, fridge, bathroom etc…. 5 entire units of econ stats done….
    Thanks again. You rock!

  4. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Thank you so much for your comment. Very interesting that the mnemonics for Piaget stayed with you for so long. There are a lot of episodes here which demonstrate how mnemonics can be applied to psychology. Try doing a search from the homepage on the term mnemonics and you’ll get a list of all of them. I wonder if the mnemonics worked well for you because they employ mental imagery – a typical right hemisphere specialty?

  5. Avatar

    hayley fuller

    January 19, 2009

    I have an acquired brain injury on left frontal lobe and have just recently found your blog. I watched the piaget mnemonics show and have learnt something new – I have not forgotten the 4 stages and their particulars. until yesterday I thought this was not possible for me. thank you. Now a first year uni student studying psych I at least feel hopeful..

  6. Avatar

    Charley Gihiala

    January 19, 2009

    Thank you for this very useful learning tools. You are very creative. Thumbs up.

  7. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Meghan: glad to hear it! Thanks for the comment.

  8. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    I just found this tonight before my exam tomorrow and it has been so incredibly helpful! 20 minutes and I have something memorized that I’ve been reading and writing all night….thank you!

  9. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Janie: thanks so much for your comment! Mnemonics are really helpful – especially for tests, so go into the EPPP with a fighting attitude!

  10. Avatar

    Hi Michael!

    January 19, 2009

    Hi Michael! Guess what…I am taking the EPPP in 2 weeks and your podcasts have been a wonderful and HELPFUL study tool; especially the great Erikson mnemonics! I am using them for everything (kinda hard with Piaget; but it works). You remind me of my undergrad abnormal psych prof that got me hooked on psychology in the first place!

    Janie Black, Ph.D.
    Austin, Texas

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    January 19, 2009

    I am taking psychology as a college student and you site is extremely helpful. Thank you!

  12. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    Great! Glad to hear that the podcast has been helpful. Good luck on that test Wendy! – Michael

  13. Avatar


    January 19, 2009

    I am going for my re-certification for Child Life and these tools have been so refreshing. Thank you for the new ideas and ways for me to learn.

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