Towards a System Architecture Supporting Contextualized Learning

Gerhasd Fischer, Andreas C. Lemke, Raymond McCall

We have developed a conceptual framework and a demonstration system that contextualize (or situate) learning in the context of real-world work situations. The conceptual framework is based on the following requirements: the choice of tasks and goals must be under the control of the user, not the system. The environment must be able to situate learning, allow situations to "talk back," support reflection-in-action, identify the instructional information relevant for tasks at hand, and turn breakdowns from disasters into opportunities for learning. Learning must not disrupt or interfere with solving a problem, and new information to be learned must help to accomplish the task at hand. Our demonstration system JANUS (developed for the domain of architectural design) is built on an integrated architecture: a knowledge-based construction component, a hypermedia-based argumentation component, a set of critics, and a catalog of precedent solutions. Contextualized learning is supported by the critics that link construction and argumentation, and precedent solutions from the catalog that situate argumentation. Evaluation of JANUS and the underlying conceptual framework have shown that this approach combines some of the best features of open-ended learning environments and tutoring systems.

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