This course takes the position that to learn is to construct and/or organize knowledge, and it is by doing so that we understand things that we didn’t understand before. It is the assumption of this course that we will be in a better position to achieve these goals if we can somehow characterize the knowledge that individuals possess/exhibit/develop at any given time, and how this knowledge changes as they learn.
The characterization of knowledge is therefore the central business of this course. Our goals in this regard are both theoretical and methodological. This course will introduce you to some of the most interesting and important tools and methods (e.g., knowledge representation and cognitive modeling, interviews, cognitive ethnography) that learning scientists and cognitive scientists have developed over the past three decades, in order to investigate and understand cognitive mechanisms that are related to and/or result in learning. This course will also introduce you to some of the "hot", debated topics in the field (e.g., transfer, nature of epistemological knowledge, etc.). Pertaining to each of the theoretical issues, implications for instructional design will also be explored. Students with interest in all domains (such as science, engineering, art, math, humanities, social sciences) are welcome.
“What I can’t build, I can’t learn”. This idea is the guiding principle around which this course has been designed. That is, the best way to learn about learning is to build models/theories of learning that should be empirically grounded. It is expected that students taking this course will actively engage in theory/model building through the various class projects and learning activities.
Readings will include classic as well as
recent papers in Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Psychology and Learning
1. Keep up with the readings and participate in class.
2. Every class will include 10-15 minute long student presentations on at least one of the assigned readings.
3. Write reaction/summary papers to readings every week (summary of each paper + how they relate to each other – Page limit: I page, single spaced)
4. Do the course project. As discussed below, this has several components, including a final paper and presentation.