LAUREN B. RESNICK ANN JOHNSON University of Pittsburgh
In this chapter we consider some current and potential efforts in computer- assisted learning in light of major themes from cognitive learning theory. Some of the themes reflect established principles of human cognition and learning: others are currently active domains of questioning and theoretical development. In each case we consider the implications of cognitive principles for the develop. ment of computer-based instruction, as well as the consequences of these developments for theories of learning. The review and evaluation of programs offered here reflect an admittedly optimistic perspective on the technological advances made in recent years. Computers are altering the landscape of our social and intellectual environment, and they are undoubtedly here to stay. The promise for new approaches to human learning that capitalize on the capacities of "intelligent machines" seems great. Nevertheless, we conclude by raising questions about the current dominant view of the role of computers in education and suggesting that a broader conception of the ways in which machines might enhance human intelligence is needed.
The chapter can best be characterized as a smorgasbord reflecting the state of the field, organized around themes that are shared by and central to an branches of cognitive science. Our instructional examples are drawn quite opportunistically. Some derive explicitly from cognitive theory; others are built on the intuitions of artful instructors in various teaching disciplines. In many cases the design and building of computer-based instructional systems provide the occasion for fundamental theoretical examination. Most of the programs discussed here are as much laboratories for research on learning and instruction as they are programs for immediate instructional use. Continued corabora