Each mode is foremost at different stages of development

Each mode is foremost at different stages of development, but all are present throughout the process. The first stage (1-18 months), was termed “enactive”. Thinking is entirely based on the child’s physical actions rather than their internal thinking. This mode is continuously seen in the later years, an example of that would be when a child is learning how to get dressed for school or ride a bike. The second mode begins to develop when a child reaches 18 months and was named “iconic”, and is mainly obtained via pictures or icons. These are mainly based on hearing, sight, smell or touch. In an educational setting, diagrams and/or illustrations are often useful when introducing a new topic. The third stage, mainly reached at the age of 6 is “symbolic” and is primarily based on the use of symbols. Language also serves the purpose of regulation in this stage; as children develop, they shift from being external to being internal in cognitive processes. Using language as a symbol is essential to develop the capacity to think in abstract terms. Based on this three-stage notion, Bruner recommended using a combination of concrete, pictorial and then symbolic activities which will lead into more effective learning. This holds true even for adult learners.