Difference between Piaget and Vygotsky Theories
By Theydiffer - January 14, 2016

Both Piaget and Vygotsky stipulated that social interactions play a crucial role in cognitive development of an individual. At the time their theories had been developed and had been gaining influence among psychologists, Piaget and Vygotsky claimed that their theories were mutually exclusive. However, more recent studies have shown that the two theories are more complementary than opposing. In this article, we will see what the basic differences between the two theories are.

Definitions

Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development scheme

Comparison chart

Piaget theoryVygotsky theory
Cognitive development is a product of social transmissionCognitive development is a product of social interaction
Claims that the development of thinking and language can be traced back to actions, perceptions and imitations by little childrenClaims that there is a strong connection between learning language and the development of thinking
Does not include mentor in observations on cognitive developmentHighlights the role of a mentor in cognitive development
Shows  preference for learning potential of an individualIs well-applied to teaching strategies

Piaget theory vs Vygotsky theory

What is the difference between the Piaget theory and the Vygotsky theory?

  • Piaget’s theory states that cognitive development essentially is influenced by social transmission, which describes learning from people around. On the other hand, Vygotsky’s theory states that cognitive development is influenced by social interaction; meaning that when an individual is engaged in social activity, his language and cognition are developing.
  • Piaget’s theory claims that the development of thinking and language in an individual can be traced back to the actions, perceptions and imitations by little children. Vygotsky’s theory, on the other hand, postulates that there is a strong connection between learning language and the development of thinking
  • Piaget and Vygotsky approach learning in different ways. Piaget observed in detail how children’s learning works, but he didn’t highlight the role of a mentor or a teacher. Vygotsky’s theory, on the other hand, doesn’t observe the actual mental development, but rather discusses general acquisition of a new concept or skill. Both Piaget and Vygotsky thought that there is always a certain range of tasks outside of students’ understanding. Vygotsky, however, believed that with assistance from a mentor, these tasks could be performed. Piaget, on the other hand, didn’t suggest anything regarding the matter.
  • Vygotsky’s theory is well applied to teaching strategies. Piaget’s theory, on the other hand, shows a preference for discovering and learning done by individuals themselves.