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authors Salomon, Gavriel
year 1990
title Effects with and of Computers and the Study of Computer-based Learning Environments
source Chapter in Computer-Based Learning Environments and Problem Solving, ed. E. De Corte, M. C. Linn, H. Mandl, and L. Verschaffel. New York: Springer-Verlag
summary Several factors have contributed to the developments in computer-based learning environments. Improvements and advances in hardware capabilities have afforded greater computing power. Advances in cognitive and instructional science have moved thinking beyond the limits of behavioural psychology. The new systems of computer-based learning environments are being designed with a view to facilitating complex problem-solving through integrating wholes of knowledge (Dijkstra, Krammer & MerriŽnboer, 1992). Thus, many see in the computer a means to enhance students' cognitive skills and general problem-solving ability. This is in spite of the fact that studies have failed to conclusively confirm the hypothesis that computer-based learning environments facilitate the acquisition and transfer of higher-order thinking and learning skills (Dijkstra, Krammer & MerriŽnboer, 1992). Salomon (1992) argues that computers make possible student involvement in higher-order thinking skills by performing many of the lower-level cognitive tasks, by providing memory support and by juggling interrelated variables. Through a partnership with the computer, the user may also benefit from the effect of cognitive residue resulting in improvement or mastery of a skill or strategy. Salomon explains: The intellectual partnership with computer tools creates a zone of proximal development whereby learners are capable of carrying out tasks they could not possible carry out without the help and support provided by the computer. This partnership can both offer guidance that might be internalized to become self-guidance and stimulate the development of yet underdeveloped skills, resulting in a higher level of skill mastery (p.252).
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