DESIGN PRINCIPLES ASSOCIATED WITH USING INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN THE FORM OF AN EXPERT SYSTEM SHELL AS A COGNITIVE TOOL TO FACILITATE HIGHER ORDER THINKING
Tshwane University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Information communication technology is capable of contributing supplementary teaching and learning strategies that can be used to address various educational challenges faced by higher education. Students who enter South African higher education institutions are often academically under-prepared and have not developed the cognitive skills required to engage in meaningful learning. Even though educational technology cannot address all the educational challenges faced by learning institutions, it has the potential to leverage and widen conventional teaching and learning activities under certain circumstances, and therefore influence the way in which students engage cognitively with material. Technology is being used effectively in a classroom context where the technology is not the result or object of the learning but rather supports learning by providing a scaffold that facilitates learning more effectively. When computers are used as instruments that support cognitive processes that extend people's cognitive capacity, they can be described as cognitive tools. By using cognitive tools, learners become intellectually more capable than they would otherwise be, as the specific functions that the tool is more suited to be made the responsibility of the cognitive tool. An expert system can be described as a tool that is designed to assist the user in decision making and can function as a cognitive tool when developed by students within a learning environment. The design and development of expert systems require students to demonstrate the reasoning of an expert and to exhibit an understanding of causal relationships and procedural knowledge. This study formulated design principles in the form of conjectures and principles related to a learning environment that uses technology as a cognitive tool in the form of an expert system shell to promote higher-order thinking skills. A design team comprised of six experienced lectures and instructional designers was exposed to a tentative design of a learning environment that used and expert system shell as a cognitive tool to facilitate higher order thinking. After each design session a focus group interview was conducted. An analysis of transcripts of nine of these focus group interviews was used to inform improvements to the tentative design of the learning environment. Once no more improvements were suggested a comprehensive grounded theory analysis was undertaken to formulate design principles. These design principles are expressed in the form of conjectures and principles. These are then in turn expressed in terms of the characteristics, procedures and arguments associated with a learning environment that uses technology in the form of an expert system shell to facilitate higher-order thinking. These conjectures and principles were separated into seven interrelated clusters: initial exposure, guided discovery learning, designing the expert system on paper, creating domain awareness, linking conceptual understanding to a representation of that understanding, hands-on development, and problem engagement.
Keywords: Design research, ICT, Cognitive tools, Higher order thinking, Higher education, Under-preparedness, mind tools.