Implications of authentic learning tasks: student experiences
01 / 2002 - unknown
Important theoretical changes with respect to learning are at the root of the increasing interest in authentic tasks and collaborative learning. The first is the view of learning that considers both the social context and the social processes as an integral part of the learning activity (Situated cognition: Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). Traditionally, especially cognitive theories have examined inquiry as an individual and mental process. Nowadays many theories recognize the socially distributed (or shared) nature of cognition. Distributed cognition refers to a process in which cognitive resources are shared socially in order to extend individual cognitive resources or to accomplish something that an individual learner could not achieve alone. Collaboration becomes more and more important in such learning processes. The second is the recognition of the importance of learners actively constructing their knowledge as suggested by the theoretical viewpoint of constructivism (Jonassen, 1993). Too often, traditional instruction provides students with many bits of knowledge that they are never able to assemble and apply in productive ways. One reason for this is the focus of traditional schooling on learning isolated facts in compartmentalized disciplines. Not surprisingly, this knowledge often cannot be transferred to real-world problems. Theories of constructivism and situated cognition suggest that for learning to be useful the learner needs to be actively involved in constructing new knowledge within meaningful contexts, not merely absorbing it.