Situated Cognition Part 1: Communities of Practice Flashcards Preview

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1

Situated Cognition: Context

One of the Contextual Theories (the "cognitions"):

- Situated Cognition: Knowledge is situated within authentic activity, context, and culture

- Distributed Cognition: Knowledge is distributed across objects, individuals, artifacts, and tools

- Embodied Cognition: All aspects of cognition are shaped by the body

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Situated Cognition in Action: Weight Watchers

Dieters are asked to prepare their lunch and fix a servicing of cottage cheese that is 3/4 of the 2/3 allowed

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Situated Cognition: Context (continued)

- Deeply rooted/grounded in Vygotskian constructivism
- Cognition originates from internalizing external interactions
- External activity occurs internally -> learning
- Interpersonal processes transform into internal processes
- Cognition is (at least in part) determined by cultural norms

- Assumptions:
- Learning cannot be considered separately from prior experiences
- All mental activity is grounded in external activity

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Learning in Situated Cognition

- All learning is situated
- Takes place and needs to be understood within a context
- Context provides structure and meaning

- Learning is participation
- It happens through adoption of the behaviors and belief systems of social groups

- Learning is a tangible skill set
- Not just something that's happening "inside the head" but actions and goal-directed activities within cultural contexts

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Learning in Situated Cognition: Examples

- Learning vocabulary in everyday interaction is much more effective than giving vocab words to memorize

- Second language learning: Difficult in a classroom or a textbook, but easier to immerse oneself in a group where the language is primarily spoken

- Learning how to drive: You learn a lot of driving etiquette from just being a passenger

- Etiquette for elevator behavior is learned from participating in the situation

- The teacher arranges for students to visit a local justice of the peace office, talk with the justice of peace, and observe a justice of the peace session

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Key Concepts in Situated Cognition

- Authentic Activities:
- Situations that mirror meaningful contexts are authentic activities

- They use real practices and strategies you would encounter

- Authentic activities develop the most relevant skills for learning

- But it's difficult to apply abstract knowledge in context

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Situated Cognition in Action

- Assessing Brazilian street vendors' math skills:
- Average accuracy at market stalls: 98% (Authentic Activity)
- Average accuracy on market stall word problems: 74%
- Average accuracy on arithmetic test: 37%

- Their mathematics and problem-solving skills directly depended on the context

8

Key Concepts in Situated Cognition

- Communities of Practice: Communities of people can be characterized based on their shared domain, notion of community, and practice
- Legitimate Peripheral Participation: How newcomers become oldtimers by first participating in low-risk tasks then gradually take on more central tasks to the CoP

- Cognitive Apprenticeship: Learning through guided experience on cognitive and metacognitive skills and processes

- Affinity Spaces: A virtual or physical place where informal learning takes place based on a shared interest or common activity

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Communities of Practice

- "In a nutshell, Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly" -Etienne Wenger

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Communities of Practice (CoP)

- A CoP is a group of individuals that share a concern or a passion for something they do and strive to improve as they interact over time

- Learning occurs during interactions between members with different levels of expertise
- Oldtimers
- Newcomers

- Within a given CoP, people will have different specializations and social relationships
- But they always share a focus and engage in activities together

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Communities of Practice: 3 Key Characteristics

- Shared domain of interest

- Focus on community relationships of learning

- Shared practice develops over time through social negotiation

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3 Characteristics Defined

- Domain: Shared Domain of interest
- Ex. radiologist, Star Trek fans, middle school history teachers, Badger football fans
- Not just a network of people or club of friends- need commitment

- Community: Relationships are key
- Interact with each other, engage in shared activities, help each other, share information with each other, and build relationships that enable them to learn from each other

- Practice: Members are practitioners, engaged in practice
- Shared repertoire of resources which can include stories, tools, experiences, ways of handling typical problems, shared language/jargon, etc.

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CoP's are Dynamic

- Newcomers come in and learn from oldtimers

- As newcomers come in, they may change the practice

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Learning is Enculturation

- Enculturation: The ways in which "people, consciously or unconsciously, adopt the behavior and belief systems of new social groups"

- By participating in the practices of a community, we selectivity appropriate skills, knowledge, values, ways of thinking, and identities with that community

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Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP)

- Within a CoP, newcomers first engage in low-risk, but productive, activities (i.e., on the periphery)

- Over time, they build familiarity with the language, principles, and culture of a community

- Eventually, they can take on progressively more important/central tasks
- Newcomers become oldtimers
- This is learning from a Situated Cognition perspective

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Apprenticeships

- Apprenticeship: A form of training in which an expert teaches a skill to a novice through demonstration and practice

- Situated Cognition theorists emphasize the use of cognitive apprenticeships
- Like cognitive modeling from SCT, cognitive apprenticeships involve explicit explanations about how to do and think like an expert in that domain

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Cognitive apprenticeship

- Supports learning in a domain (Domain Specific) by enabling students to acquire, develop and use cognitive tools (Cognitive) in authentic domain activity

- Learning, both outside and inside school (formal and informal learning environments), advances through collaborative social interaction (social and group-based) and the social construction of knowledge

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Typical Features of Cognitive Apprenticeships

- Modeling and Observing

- Coaching and Scaffolding

- Legitimate Peripheral Participation

- Articulation and Reflection

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Some Implications for teaching and learning

- Learning requires:
- Acquiring basic cognitive tools of various domains
- Opportunities to collaborate- particularly with more experienced others
- Engagement in authentic tasks that closely resemble those they will encounter in the world
- Skills used when "thinking like journalists or historians" can be used in other situations and careers
- For example: Supporting an argument, analyzing multiple texts