Computers as cognitive tools: Do they really enhance learning?

Year: 2001

Author: Steketee, Carole, Herrington, Jan, Oliver, Ron

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Do computers, when implemented effectively, enhance learning? This question is the essence of the third phase of a Ph.D. study where computers were integrated as cognitive tools into a tertiary learning environment. The implementation framework was based on a social constructivist perspective of learning where discourse and collaboration were highly valued, and students were encouraged to distribute their learning between social, physical, symbolic and intellectual resources found within the learning environment. Using action-research methodology, this framework provided the catalyst for exploring how computers can be used effectively in tertiary education. It also permitted insight into the extent to which computers, when used as cognitive tools, can promote and foster cognitive processes that catalyse quality learning outcomes, the results of which are discussed in this paper.