The advantages of information-processing cognitive approach can be summarized as follows:
The emphasis of the syllabuses is on process, not on product. The shift from product to process brings a series of changes in language learning. The learner is more autonomous, takes more initiative, and develops cognitive abilities and the potentials of his/her own.
Language learning is based on language acquisition mechanism that has been scientifically described; the approach clarifies the psycholinguistic processes in language use and language learning, the functioning of the three stages and the interaction between them, and reviews the relevant research studies from the second language field. It absorbs the achievements both from the communicative approach which focuses on meaning and from the traditional cognitive approach which focuses on form and rule, and tries to balance the tensions between form and meaning, rule and memory, and fluency, accuracy, and complexity.
Give the prioritization that occurs with older learners towards meaning, the central pedagogic problem is to contrive, in the context of convincing communication, and adequate focus on form. The problem, in other words, is to manipulate attention in such a way that it does not always target the same goal (fluency, accuracy, and complexity) but is allocated to each in turn; maximizing the chances that balanced foreign language development will occur.
As a new approach, the information-processing cognitive also has its difficulties. First, it emphasizes the real-time language communication, and seldom concerns the written form where time is not so suppressed. It is doubtful whether the result is applicable to foreign language learning where reading and writing are the major form of communication in china.
Second, the tensions are not so easy to be balanced. The central dilemma is that although specific structures can be brought into prominence, there is no guarantee that they will be the structures, which will be internalized. An attention-based approach only maximizes the chances that form will be sufficiently salient for progress to occur.