The word "cognitive" refers to the process of thinking, solving problems, learning, and remembering. By definition, therefore, education must be viewed as a cognitive activity.
A cognitive view or approach to the process of education would be one that presents multiple experiences through which students can discover and integrate information through direct involvement. The experiences provided to a given student change in response to the child's previous experiences, supporting more advanced levels of involvement and more complicated concepts as the child's prior knowledge allows.
The advantage of such an approach is that it focuses on the individual student and his/her learning process and progress. If a student encounters difficulty in understanding and mastering a certain process or concept, additional supportive experiences are immediately designed and provided to assist the child in achieving comprehension. Ideally, the student would master that level before moving on to the next level of cognitive development.
The disadvantage of the above approach to education is that it involves very frequent assessment of the student's learning and retention, since new experiences build directly upon previous ones. The teacher needs to be constantly evaluating the needs of the student and designing learning activities that address the evolving educational needs and stages of the student. This can become a challenge, entailing a great deal of time, effort, recordkeeping, and flexibility in adjusting lesson plans.