Developing Computer Tools to Support Performing and Learning Complex Cognitive Skills

by David J. McArthur

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The main aim of this Note is to demonstrate that new and highly effective computer-based learning tools can be designed by adhering to a simple principle: Good learning tools conform to and support the processes that comprise learning. The author first discusses the processes involved in learning cognitive skills, and then describes several software tools that support and facilitate these skills. He discusses examples drawn from learning problem-solving skills in high school algebra, and learning how to play the strategic board game, Go. Although some of the tools described embed considerable complex intelligence, many are relatively simple to implement and are easily within the current state of the art of computer hardware and software.

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