How Coding Helps In The Development Of Cognitive Skills
Topics that are being discussed in this blog are the following:-
- What are Cognitive Skills?
- Different Cognitive Skills.
- How coding helps in the development to cognitive skills
What Are Cognitive Skills?
Before we jump into how coding influences the development of cognitive skills let’s have an understanding of what actually are these so-called Cognitive Skills. These skills are actually the skills that we almost use to perform our day-to-day tasks directly or indirectly. To understand it a bit more precisely let us consider a situation. Imagine you are having a class test tomorrow at your school. For a test to be successful for a student who’s attending it, undergoes several processes which we may not even consider as a process. To prepare for a test you should read that particular portion, understand, and then learn it. To do both of these you need to pay attention in the class while teaching that topic. Then the next day while attending the test you should think about the answer and remember what you have learned right? All the steps mentioned now are processes you undergo in order to attend and be successful in the test. Actually, all these above-mentioned processes are some skills that you have and develop gradually. All these skills when used by the brain to perform a task is known as Cognitive Skills. Cognitive skills are those skills that our brain uses to think, learn, remember, read, reason, and pay attention. As mentioned, we use these skills very often in a day directly or indirectly. These skills have more to do with the mechanisms of the previously mentioned skills rather than with actual knowledge.
All these cognitive skills have a major in processing new information, which means if even any one of these skills becomes weak, regardless of what kind of information is fed it will impact the usability and understanding of that information.
Now, let us have a brief understanding of the different cognitive skills.
1. Memory/Long Term
This Memory refers to the information that is stored in the past which is supposed to be there for a very long time. For instance, information such as your parent’s name, sibling's name, your home address, etc is all stored in the past which will be there for a very long time as we use it often. These memories are very crucial because if this memory becomes weak consequences regarding that will be in the form of forgetting names, forgetting things you used to know, forgetting where you live and belong, performing poorly on tests, etc.
2. Working Memory
Working memory simply means the information related to something that you are frequently using. For instance, say you are using and practicing the programming language Java for the past few months. Since you are using Java for a while you must be familiar with its commands and syntax, and now comparing you with a senior developer who is supposed to supervise and monitor your work will be less familiar with the syntax as compared to you because he isn’t coding but just monitoring you guys. If this memory becomes weak, consequences will be like forgetting what you just said in a conversation, not being able to understand the code you have just written on your own, not recognizing the syntax and commands of the language you were frequently working on.
3.Logic And Reasoning
As the name suggests this skill allows you to think logically and reason appropriately, to form ideas, and also to solve problems. When a person has this skill he//she will be able to understand a problem precisely and he/she could think of a logical solution for that and they will also figure out in what way they could reach the solution. With this skill that particular person would not get stuck while solving a problem or doesn’t get overwhelmed. Lack of this skill may bring out consequences such as getting stuck while doing a problem, getting overwhelmed, frequently asking what to do next, etc.
3. Auditory Processing
This skill helps in analyzing and blending sounds. Also, it helps to segment them. For instance, when the teacher in your class asks you to read a paragraph from a particular chapter and assume you read it as instructed. Now, you were able to read that because you had the skill of Auditory Processing. So, that means this is a skill that helps you to read fluently without any difficulty. Now if you lacked this skill, it pimples that you would have struggled to learn to read, lack of reading fluency, etc.
4. Visual Processing
This is somewhat like visualization up to an extent. This helps you think in visual images. Visualization is something that happens in our minds automatically when we hear things. For instance, say you are reading a book when you read each and every line your mind just visualizes the respective situation if you are reading properly. Well, this is visual processing. Another example we can consider is reading and understanding maps and their directions. While we use a map to reach somewhere and while looking into the map we make a rough visual of what it may look like in real life in our mind and then follow the instructions which will finally lead us to the destination. Here also the process of visualization has been undergone. Lack of this skill can lead to consequences such as not understanding what you have just read, remembering what you read, following directions, understanding maps, etc.
5. Processing Speed
It is a skill that helps you complete a task quickly and accurately. As the name suggests it literally means the speed of processing a piece of information fed to our brain. For instance, imagine you are attending a maths class test in your school and consider you are having word problems in mathematics. So we know that all word problems come to doing a single mathematical operation in order to get the solution. So, when given a word problem the speed at which you read and understand what operation should be done in that question in order to get the solution is considered as the Processing Speed of your brain. The lack of this skill may make you feel like almost all tasks assigned to you are very difficult, you take a very long time to complete your school homework, etc.
This, as the name suggests, helps you to stay focused and bring out phenomenal outputs. Attention is of different types:- Sustained, Selective and Divided Attention. If you lack attention or stay focused it could affect you very badly. Consequences will be like having a lot of unfinished homework, jumping from assignments to assignments, frequent mistakes, being easily distracted, etc.
All the above-mentioned skills are mandatorily required in order to develop your cognitive skills and the lack of anyone skill could impact all the others too. Also, every single skill mentioned above is equally important.
Coding And Cognitive
Even though coding is becoming an interesting part of our life and also a curriculum in primary schools around the world very little is being known on how it improves the cognitive skills of a kid. Now let us discuss how coding can help you develop your cognitive skills. Also, what we are about to discuss is just a little and a very beginning. More and more interesting facts are about to come in the near future.
Nowadays, coding skills are growing and becoming more relevant day by day and it isn’t just used in the IT field but also in many other industries too. Over the past few years, technology has evolved and transformed in almost every possible way. We could say that coding is a joint venture of man and machine. There are several ways that have been proven through studies in which coding helps to develop cognitive skills. When we learn something like coding our brain is meeting something new, therefore it has its own effects on the brain. Let us have a look at which ways coding develops cognitive skills in a person.
Activates Brain's Learning Centers
Whenever we learn a new unused thing it helps the brain create new modern neural associations and develop the arts of the brain related to learning. According to one of the world’s leading experts in software engineering, coding actuates five distinct brain districts which are related to language processing, working memory, and attention. Also, when you learn to code or whenever you learn anything consistently it makes you more proficient in that skill. We also say if you work out or hit the gym frequently you could remain physically fit and you will have an increased muscle movement than a person who doesn’t. Similarly, if you are able to code according to a routine it helps you increase your brain movements especially at parts related to language and mathematics.
Builds Modern Neural Pathways And Strengthen Ancient Ones
As mentioned earlier, coding activates different regions of the brain, therefore when these are activated what happens is that the brain builds modern associations and unused neural pathways. For instance, imagine you were friends with a lot of students in your primary school and you left for another for some reason and then you came back during high school. Now, when you left you already had friends with whom you had a break but when you came back you renewed your old friendships as well as created new friends through them. That is what is all about in the above-said statement. This implies that when you code frequently these brain zones are utilized frequently and their association will be strengthened compared to a person who doesn’t code. It is seen that software engineers have more dynamic brains in a few areas that are over the top in cognitive execution and alertness.
Moves Forward Memory And Cognitive Skills
Coding can provide assistance in moving forward your cognitive skills and memory. Anyone who wants can learn how to code. But learning it needs proper preparation. That said, you should practice what you have learned frequently, else you will be just knowing code according to some syntax and will also be able to read and understand a code. But it doesn’t develop your memory or cognitive skills which will indeed help you grow.
In coding, you are supposed to process the data quickly. As I mentioned earlier about visualization. It is the ability of our brain to form a sense of the world around us. When you attend a mathematics test you need to actually do more problems in a less amount of time and that too correctly. Similarly, here you have to process data much faster and that is possible through visual preparation. Basically, when we code we are actually coding on we are practicing after a formula of composing code when we do so this ability is completely powerless. Also, the kid is going to learn at a slower pace. When doing a project or creating an app you have to review what you have learned so far and relate it to the code on what you are working on now, utilize it, arrange it and visualize how you want your project or app to look like.
Coding is basically a learn as you go process. You can’t learn everything about anything. It is only possible to learn to code by learning and practicing it. When you code you will obviously get stuck at some point. AT that time you will do unused things till your code works. While you are utilizing this in a surrounding that requires this data will be kept in your mind. For instance, when you are learning at kindergarten your mind will store the data regarding kindergarten because you are related to kindergarten at that time. But when you are at high school, what happens is that your mind will store data regarding high school and not kindergarten. The same case goes here. When you are a frequent coder and trying out new things, that data will be stored in your mind as you are related to coding and this will improve and develop your working memory which is indeed a cognitive skill.
These are some ways in which coding helps in the development of cognitive skills which are really interesting as well as amazing. Studies are going on to find more interesting facts regarding this.
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