AAAI Publications, 2010 AAAI Fall Symposium Series

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Using a Bottom-Up Approach to Design Computers as Metacognitive Tools to Enhance Learning of History
Eric G. Poitras, Susanne P. Lajoie, Yuan-Jin Hong

Last modified: 2010-11-03


A seminal study conducted by Greene, Bolick, and Robertson (2010) showed that learners do not always engage in appropriate metacognitive and self-regulatory processes while learning about history. However, little research exists to guide the design of technology-rich learning environments (TRLEs) as metacognitive tools in social sciences education. In order to address this issue, we designed a metacognitive tool using a bottom-up approach (Poitras, 2010; Poitras, Lajoie, & Hong, in prep). Thirty-two undergraduate students read an historical narrative text either with or without the benefit of the metacognitive tool. Results from process and product data suggest that learners had better recall because the metacognitive tool assisted learners to (a) notice that particular events are unexplained in the circumstances described in an historical narrative text, and (b) generate hypothetical causes to explain the occurrence of such events. We discuss the implications of these findings for the development of the MetaHistoReasoning Tool, a TRLE that assists learners’ historical reasoning while they accomplish authentic tasks of historical inquiry.


metacognitive tools; history education; top-down and bottom-up approach

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