Modestas Nugaras


This theoretical article is aimed to analyse a socio-cognitive conflict as an educational factor in the context of adult learning and education. For a long time, the socio-cognitive conflict had been considered a negative factor in a learning or study process. Actually, a positive attitude toward the aspect was formed as late as in recent decades – thenceforth, a socio-cognitive conflict was claimed to be a positive phenomenon where a teacher or an andragogue is able to provide appropriate assistance in this case, he/she knows how to handle it, to make it a learning incentive, an epistemological source of new knowledge and social representations.An analysis of a socio-cognitive conflict might help to provide a more thorough answer to the following problematic issue: how to perceive and explain the idea of a socio-cognitive conflict, its educational importance in the context of adult learning and education? The article is not aimed to find answers to all problematic issues which, though, allow posing a scientific problem of the article: what does a socio-cognitive conflict mean as an educational factor in the context of adult learning and education? Thus, an object of research has been a socio-cognitive conflict in the context of adult learning. The goal of the article is to study a socio-cognitive conflict which performs a function of an educational factor. When writing the article, the following research methods were applied: analysis of scientific literature for revealing a concept and idea of a socio-cognitive conflict; meta-analysis – for reviewing the findings of previous studies in this field.The article consists of two parts: the first part deals with a concept of a socio-cognitive conflict, the second – with its significance, where the latter is treated as a source of adult learning and an educational factor. The analysis of scientific literature suggests that a socio-cognitive conflict (SCC) in the context of adult learning and education is a destabiliser of a learning process that arises in the process of cognition through interaction with other people as a result of different social representations, attitudes toward facts, phenomenon, object, information, existing knowledge, and other confrontations.The phenomena of SCC and cognitive conflict mechanisms are identical, though, differ in the context of social interaction which is not always inherent in a cognitive conflict.SCC is considered an educational and learning factor under the following conditions only: asymmetry of social relations (e.g., a different social-occupational status) scarcely ever creates favourable conditions for SCC solutions, while the SCC does not become an educational and learning factor. This is especially true of hierarchical relationships, where SCC is resolved solely on the basis of mutual relations, rather than a cognitive problem. Such an SCC decision is inappropriate since it only emphasises, for example, a teacher’s status or underlines a connivance of students;intensity of socio-cognitive relations (majority-minority opinions) may have a positive impact on learning if account is taken of a positive verbal and nonverbal communication and the weight of the arguments put forward;features of social affective interaction are: an emotionally secure and positive (as well as learning) environment for solving the SCC, which is safe from interpersonal stains. Participants in social interaction, in case of SCC and provision of assistance, must have provisional positive cognitive and social skills for solving SCC and other learning issues.Adult learning and educational situations are often complex, ambiguous, involve not only a socio-cognitive conflict, but also identities of andragogues, adult learners, personal motivation, interpersonal relations, existing social representations, etc. It is, therefore, assumed that the above theoretical insights presume further empirical narrative studies in this field to disclose the experience of adult education players (andragogues, teachers, students, adult learners, etc.), their social representations upon coming through a social conflict as an educational and learning factor, in much more detail.


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