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Grant Title: Mastering High-Functionality Computer Systems by Supporting Learning on Demand
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Gerhard Fischer, Michael Eisenberg
Period of Support: September 1992 - August 1995
See also supplement grant: Learning on Demand--Using Networks for Integrating School and Workplace Learning


Project Summary

We are developing conceptual frameworks, system architectures, and domain-oriented knowledge-based design environments in support of learning on demand. Our approach is exploiting the power of high-functionality computer systems in a project-oriented learning environment for undergraduate students (in computer science as well as in other related disciplines). We place special emphasis on integrating working and learning and on supporting self-directed and group learning; we are studying and evaluating these issues in a naturalistic setting.

Project Prototypes:

Essential Features of the Project

Information overload, the advent of high-functionality systems, and a climate of rapid technological change have created new problems and challenges for education and training. New instructional approaches are needed to circumvent the difficult problems of coverage (i.e., trying to teach people everything that they may need to know in the future) and obsolescence (i.e., trying to predict what specific knowledge someone will need in the future). Learning on demand is the only viable strategy in a world where we cannot learn everything. It is a promising approach for the following reasons: (1) it contextualizes learning by allowing it to be integrated into work rather than relegating it to a separate phase; (2) it lets learners see for themselves the usefulness of new knowledge for actual problem situations, thereby increasing the motivation for learning new skills and information, and (3) it makes new information relevant to the task at hand, thereby leading to better decision making, better products, and better performance.

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