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Technology enhanced learning: The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Training (whether traditional, e-learning, or blended learning) is intimately connected with and dependent on the human cognitive system. Learning means that the cognitive system acquires information and stores it for further use. If these processes do not occur properly, then the learners will not initially acquire the information, and even if they do, then they will not be able to recall it later, or/and the information will not be utilised and behaviour will not be modified. Regardless whether the objective is learning new information (e.g., compliance regulations, product specifications, etc.), acquiring new skills (e.g., operating a new apparatus, customer service, time management, etc.), or knowledge sharing and transfer within or across organisations — the processes of acquiring, storing and applying the information are critical. The question is how to achieve these cornerstones of learning and whether technology can enhance them. The answer is clear: The learning must fit human cognition. There is a lot of scientific knowledge and research on human cognition and learning. The difficult and tricky challenge is how to translate this theoretical and academic research into practical ways to utilise technology so as to enhance learning. By bridging basic research about learning and the brain into ways of using learning technologies, one is able to create sophisticated learning programs. These take into account and build on the architecture of cognition, and as a consequence produce effective and efficient technology enhanced learning.
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Keywords: behavioural impact of learning; cognitive architecture; cognitively optimising learning; e-learning; gaming; learning and cognition; remembering acquired information

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2008

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