Jerome Bruner is regarded as one of the most influential and renowned educational psychologists of the twentieth century. He was an American psychologist who majorly contributed to educational psychology through cognitive learning theory and human cognitive psychology.

Stages of Cognitive Development Theory

He proposed three modes of representation for intellectual development.

  • The enactive stage
  • The iconic stage
  • The symbolic stage

Strengths of Bruner’s cognitive development theory

The strengths of Bruner’s intellectual development theory are as follows:

  1. Bruner’s cognitive development theory proposed new mental processes.
  2. To have a better understanding of the link between behaviour and age, Bruner’s theory emphasised on mental structures.
  3. Bruner’s theory also makes use of practical applications.
  4. Bruner’s cognitive development theory also emphasizes on learning by discovery.
  5. Bruner’s theory makes use of objective and scientific research.
  6. Bruner emphasized on the learners’ experiences instead of rote learning.
  7. Bruner suggested the application of existing knowledge for construction of new knowledge.

Weaknesses of Bruner’s cognitive development theory

The weaknesses of Bruner’s cognitive development theory are as follows:

  1. The theory is specific due to which it has certain limitations.
  2. Individual differences are not taken into account in Bruner’s theory of cognitive development.
  3. Learners may not be willing to be vocal about their experiences.
  4. Not everyone may be able to achieve intellectual development according to the three stages of representation.
  5. Many researchers consider the stages of intellectual development to be inaccurate.
  6. Different learners have different learning abilities due to which the theory may not be applicable for all learners alike.
  7. The major criticism of Bruner’s theory is that it cannot be observed directly.


new mental processesIt has a specific focus only
Emphasized on mental structures for linking behavior and age Did not focus on Individual differences
Practical and applicableLack of self-expression
Emphasizes on learning by discovery. Lack of uniformity in stages
Usage of objective and scientific research Chances of inaccuracy in stages
Preference to learners’ experiences Indifferent to learning abilities
Application to existing knowledgeUnable to analyze by direct observation
Strengths and Weaknesses of Bruner’s Theory
Bruner strength weakness 1
Image: Strengths and Weaknesses of Bruner’s Theory of Cognitive Development


These are some strengths and weaknesses of Bruner’s cognitive development theory. Therefore, these factors need to be considered during the teaching learning process.