The theoretical position that guides our understanding of learning and the role of teaching in the learning process has been influenced by the information processing model of thinking and learning.

The information processing model provides an explanation of the cognitive processes involved in learning, and grew from the work of a number of theorists (eg, Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968; Farnham-Diggory, 1972; Gagne, 1985; Lindsay and Norman, 1977). The model uses the analogy of the human mind as a computer, and uses computer terminology to describe the ways in which people learn from their environment. The environment is the world that contains all the possible information, experiences and interactions available to the learner. A simple illustration of the model is shown in Figure 2.1.