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Cognitive develoment: Vygotsky’s theory

Quick revise

After studying this section  you should be able to:

  • outline and evaluate Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development
  • discuss the empirical evidence related to the theory
  • describe and evaluate practical applications of the theory

Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development


  • Piaget and Vygotsky need not be seen as opposites. Glassman (1999) argues that in fact the two theories are remarkably similar, especially at their central core. An attempt to integrate the two approaches would be productive.

Practical applications to education

  • ‘What a child can do with assistance today he/she can do by him/herself tomorrow’ (Vygotksy)

Progress exercise