Educational research is driven by an understanding of cognition. Without having some theoretical basis for understanding how students think and learn, there can be no warranted claims about how instructors should teach to maximize student learning and success. However, there seems to be a lack of consensus among cognitive models in the educational research community. This can be a challenge since varying lenses may have different implications for both research and practice. This white paper explores why it is important for an educational researcher to understand these implications and provides a general discussion of the predominate views of cognition with respect to educational research along with the assumptions and implications each brings associated with (1) how knowledge is stored, (2) how learning occurs, (3) how teaching can maximize student success, and (4) how knowledge and understanding can be assessed.