Understanding Learning – Essay Notes

Essay Topics for Understanding Learning in On-line Environments

Possible areas could pick up on my interests in mixed initiative tutorial environments, and the process-product planning cycle (relate to Carroll’s task-artifact cycle model – http://www.interaction-design.org/encyclopedia/task_artifact_cycle.html ). We could contrast the mixed-initiative approach with purely top down teacher driven learning and bottom up student driven discovery (relate to “Zone of proximal development” by Vygotsky, at suggestion of Hamish Macleod – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development). A theme of “mixed initiative approaches to distance education” might make a good theme to propose. It could explore the using the model of sets of issues to address, activities to perform, constraints to maintain, and annotations/notes model for the production of educational materials, to define educational goals and their adaptive refinement to specific learner contexts. And perhaps look at a next generation of more effective intelligent learning environments which can use these to support those involved as tutors and students in distance education. This area might make a good lead in to the main dissertation.

“Mixed Initiative Interaction as a Model for Education”

Inputs from the literature and theories which support it as style that can work – or otherwise. It is of interest to me as that is very much what we want to try to do with our collaboration environment work in more professional contexts. It would help my background knowledge and experience to now more of the cognitive studies literature in this area which I have never really delved into.

References from Literature

Don Norman’s work from a cognitive scientists and AI researcher perspective observes that people m(e.g. scientists) need self confidence and faith in ones own actions and beliefs or objectives. This gives them the energy and perseverance to persist when the going gets tough.

An educational model could try to bring about the agent objectives, state and process knowledge to allow students to succeed in achieving THEIR objectives. But there must be a way to align this to valid educational and teacher objectives for the mixed initiative process to work most effectively.

Norman, D. A. (1993). Things that make us smart : defending human attributes in the age of the machine . Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. Chapter 5; The Human Mind (115 – 138).

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