Distributed Cognition/Intelligence

Is learning truly an individual process? Cognitive psychologists have advanced numerous theories that suggest that it isn't. Instead, they point to numerous ways in which knowledge is situated in artifacts and in interactions rather than residing in the individual. Particularly in an information-intensive era such as ours, expecting the individual to retain vast reservoirs of information is counter-productive to accomplishing tasks. Pea, for instance, writes:

Theories such as these suggest that ODFs can perform a much more integral (rather than decorational) role in learning.

A distinction should be made, however, between the artifacts that contain distributed intelligence, and the interactions that permit distributed cognition. It is much easier to describe a situation and to point to the tools that contain distributed intelligence (once you get the hang of it, it's hard to find a tool that doesn't do this), than it is to design situations in which distributed cognition can take place.

(Hey, which one is it, anyway? Intelligence or cognition?)

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