Publication 5444

Spiro R. J., Feltovich P. J., Jacobson M. J. & Coulson R. L. (1991) Cognitive flexibility, constructivism, and hypertext: Random access instruction for advanced knowledge acquisition in ill-structured domains. Educational Technology 31(5): 24–33. Fulltext at
A central argument of this chapter is that there is a common basis for the failure of many instructional systems. The claim is that these deficiencies in the outcomes of learning are strongly influenced by underlying biases and assumptions in the design of instruction that represent the instructional domain and its associated performance demands in an unrealistically simplified and well-structured manner. We offer a constructivist theory of learning and instruction that emphasizes the real-world complexity and ill-structuredness of many knowledge domains. Any effective approach to instruction must simultaneously consider several highly intertwined topics, such as: the constructive nature of understanding; the complex and ill-structured features of many, if not most, knowledge domains; patterns of learning failure; and a theory of learning that addresses known patterns of learning failure.

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