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Conceptual Development and Context: How Do They Relate? 

written by Valerie K. Otero

This paper combines results from a larger research study that focuses on both cognitive and social aspects of learning. The theoretical perspective used is distributed cognition, in which students, students interacting with tools (such as laboratory apparatus and computer simulators), and students interacting with others and with tools are considered a cognitive system that generates learning. According to this perspective, each element of the system contributes to the cognitive product by sharing part of the cognitive load associated with a task. The unit of analysis of this paper is a group of three students working with tools, although results from a study where the unit of analysis was the single student are also used.

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Published August 7, 2002
Last Modified May 29, 2011

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