Although there is innovation in education it tends to be sporadic and discontinuous, with the result that innovative practices seldom win out against those with a long evolutionary history. Factors contributing to this condition include the difficulty of envisioning the human consequences of innovations and the predominance of research models that do not contribute to innovation. Design research is an emerging effort to bring what Whitehead called “disciplined progress” into education, but it has not yet taken on a clear form or purpose. Design research is not defined by its methods but by the goals of those who pursue it. Design research is constituted within communities of practice that have certain characteristics of innovativeness, responsiveness to evidence, connectivity to basic science, and dedication to continual improvement.
“Learning sciences” refers to a growing new trend in education-oriented research. In the first half of this paper, we characterize learning sciences as a natural outgrowth of the cognitive sciences. Learning sciences, like cognitive sciences, study realities of learning in classroom, home and job situations. Learning sciences utilize many constructs and theories developed in cognitive sciences, and, in return, learning sciences provide a good test field for cognitive theories. Learning sciences also have a strong tie to technology, advancement of which has broadened the scope of both research and practice of learning. In the latter half, we elaborate these points and introduce some of our learning science research. We also report our laboratory-based research to illustrate how collaboration could lead to abstract understanding. Our analyses indicate that the role division in collaboration could provide the participants with solutions differing in the degrees of abstraction, which helps them to gradually shift their levels of understanding from a task-oriented level to more abstract levels. We then introduce two curricula, developed on implications from the above research, to teach cognitive science to lower-division undergraduates. Overall, the paper discusses current moves and the future research potential of the learning sciences.
Hands-on project experiences are becoming common in education, but often, while students do a fine job of completing a project, they don't learn as much from these projects as they could or should. Learning by Design™ (LBD™), based on the cognitive model implied by case-based reasoning (CBR), a model of learning from experience, provides guidelines for orchestrating and facilitating hands-on activities in classrooms in ways that promote transfer. We've identified many of the affordances and potential affordances for transfer that project and problem-solving activities provide, and we've designed classroom rituals and practices that help teachers and students identify those affordances and act on them. Of most interest are our poster sessions, gallery walks and pin-up sessions and our rules-of-thumb tables. We've implemented our approach in several Learning-by-Design curriculum units and evaluated them with over 3000 students.
The Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE) provides cognitive and procedural scaffolding to students as they use the Internet to diagnose problems, critique experiments, plan investigations, search for information, construct models, debate with peers, and form coherent arguments. Our goal is to help students become lifelong learners of science, critiquers of information, and collaborators in argument and design. This paper describes the WISE technology and instructional framework, as well as the various partnerships that have resulted in new curriculum and technology features, as well as international collaborations. In WISE partnerships, scientists, classroom teachers, educational researchers and technology specialists collaborate to develop new inquiry curriculum. In WISE research partnerships, researchers are supported as they embed their investigations into classroom studies using the WISE technology platform and pedagogical framework. In WISE International partnerships, researchers from different countries collaborate to translate these technology-based innovations into different languages and customize them for diverse cultural contexts.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict Simulation (AIC) and Conflix are two web-based educational projects that involve high school students acting as contemporary political characters. Using three different narrative approaches, we explore the ways that student participants have taken an active role in creating their own learning experiences and even the educational goals that underlie those experiences.
This paper focuses on two intrinsic difficulties in pursuing a reform-oriented CSCL project based on the situated view of learning. One difficulty is theoretical impurity: absolute impossibility of linking reform rationale and the theory of situated learning. The other is discourse inconsistency: unavoidable truce with school discourses (the very target of the reformation) in the process of reform. This paper tries to illuminate the source of these difficulties through examining interconnected concepts that relate to reform-oriented CSCL research projects, e. g., learning, school, educational discourses, learning theories, situated learning, apprenticeship, reform discourses, and computer systems. This examination shows that 1. Reform-orientation makes CSCL project a complex that comprised of three discourses, i.e., theoretical discourse, reform discourse, and school discourse; 2. The discourses are based on respective value systems, thus basically incompatible; 3. Having incompatible discourses inside originates the difficulties of reform-oriented CSCL projects, as a consequence the difficulties are unavoidable as long as the projects intend to reform schools. One possible way to deal with this dead-end situation, this paper points out, is forming or reconfiguring reformers' community where participants aware the intrinsic difficulties and see coping with the difficulties as their professional specificity.
This study reports design experiments for a university course with a CSCL system as a knowledge building tool across two consecutive years. The CSCL system used in this study is Knowledge Forum (KF), the second generation of CSILE (Scardamalia, & Bereiter, 1996). About 50 students in each year took the course and engaged in collaborative learning with KF. In the first year, we designed the course with students online communication as the core of the curriculum. Results of their performance on the final essay and discourse activities on KF showed that they worked as independent learners rather than engaged in the practice of collaborative knowledge building. Our lessons from the first years design experiment made us drastically revise the course curriculum so that students in small groups were engaged in more articulate project-based learning through their face-to-face intensive discussion as well as communication between groups on KF. Results showed that the second year students essay performance and discourse activities on KF significantly outperformed those in the first year. The differences in students performance are discussed for drawing some principled knowledge of implementing knowledge media technology like KF in the learning context.
3-D object recognition is a difficult cognitive task because the view of a 3-D object is infinitely varied by the viewing conditions. In recent years, studies have identified two processes for recognizing 3-D objects. In this study, we examined the two processes in a psychophysical experiment using computer-generated 3-D objects. Reaction time analysis showed that the reaction time data distribution could be fitted by the linear combination of two Weibull distributions. This suggested the presence of two processes in object recognition. Furthermore, we found that the temporal profile of one of the distributions was dependent on the distance from the internal representation of the objects, and the other was not. These results suggested that the two processes correspond to the matching using 3-D structural information, and 2-D image matching.
This study investigated the effect of collaboration from the view points of the characteristics of tasks and the interdependence structure among problem solvers. Previous studies have suggested that representational change was facilitated when two persons worked at different levels: a task level and a meta-task level. In the present study, this hypothesis was experimentally examined. 20 participants were assigned to a single condition and 40 were assigned to a pair condition. They were asked to solve a map-construction problem, which required representational change. In the pair condition, one participant was instructed to work as “a problem solver” involving task level activity, while the other worked as “a supporter” involving meta-task level activity. The results showed that representational change occurred more often in the pair condition than in the single condition. The percentage of representational change in the real pairs was significantly higher than that of the hypothetical pairs, which was calculated by the data of the single condition. Protocol analysis revealed that problem solvers engaged in making image from text information more often than supporters, while supporters mainly evaluated the image proposed by problem solvers and suggested a way of solving the problem.