Distributed Cognition and Distributed Learning

By Pepperdine's Masters in Learning Technology students and faculty (Remember to Log-in Before you make changes)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. DISTRIBUTED COGNITION AND DISTRIBUTED LEARNING
    1. Definitions of Distributed Cognition and Distributed Learning
    2. Relationship between Distributed Learning and Distributed Cognition
    3. Distributed Learning and Collaboration
  3. APPLICATIONS OF DISTRIBUTED LEARNING
    1. Where best used
  4. DISTRIBUTED LEARNING EXAMPLES IN:
    1. Elementary Settings
    2. Secondary Settings
    3. Higher Education Settings
    4. Corporate Settings
  5. CHALLENGES TO IMPLEMENTATION OF DISTRIBUTED LEARNING IN:
    1. Elementary Settings
    2. Secondary Settings
    3. Higher Education Settings
    4. Corporate Settings
  6. ASSESSING DISTRIBUTED LEARNING
  7. REFERENCES
    1. Links
    2. Blackboard Forum Quotes




1. INTRODUCTION (TOP)


While there is no doubt that humans have the capacity for thought, we are increasingly coming to understand how complex the distribution of thinking is in the head as well as to appreciate the complicated ways it is distributed across people, present and past (Soloman, 1997) and with tools that embody our thinking (Hollan, Hutchin, & Kirsch). The social, cultural, historical forms of distributed cognition extend beyond individuals and exist in the activities that connect them; it is embodied in the tools they use. Technological advancements make it vastly easier for people to externalize what they know, think, and work on this knowledge in a shared distributed format. In fact, the human use of cognitive tools creates knowledge that is distributed in the culture, extends across time and space, and is shared in social settings. In fact, the very presence of mediating tools, from initial literacy to current complex tools of digital technology are external forms or artifacts that can be thought of --"shared minds made visible" (Riel, 2008). Working with these tools makes possible for people to work with knowledge that is not fully developed in any one persons but shared across social, cultural, regional, and historical contexts (Cole and Engsetrom, 1997).

This focus of this paper is defining Distributed Cognition and Distributed Learning and providing relevant examples supporting these definitions. Factors such as challenges to the implementation of Distributed Learning within a variety of educational contexts will be explored, as well as methods of assessment. The contexts included in this work span K-12, higher education, and corporate settings.