Knowledge Representation and the Learning Process: Taking Account of Developmental Features and Support Features in Interactive Learning Environments

  • M. M. A. Valcke
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 116)


Extending the learning and teaching environment with computers, multimedia, control technology, … enhances the possibilities to incite multiple and varying knowledge representations for knowledge categories from learners. Especially the development of interactive learning environments (e.g. control technology) looks appealing since, in this way, we can help learners to develop actively a large and rich variety of knowledge representations. This can help learners to get access to complex knowledge categories. At the theoretical level, this enrichment can be founded by referring to developmental psychological theories and recent constructivistic, cognitive theories of knowledge acquisition. This article elaborates this theoretical base. But this elaboration also puts forward a set of conditions in the educational setting. The latter is especially true if we pursue a gradual integration of multiple knowledge representations towards more comprehensive schemes or structures. This introduces a section in this article on doubts about the optimistic expectations that active learning and constructing personal knowledge representations is a straightforward result of learning in interactive learning environments. Guidelines are therefore put forward which educators have to take into account, and also the quality of the environment offered is discussed in this context. This critical section is followed by the elaboration of two examples that illustrate better practice. We finish the article by elaborating the remarkable parallelism between the discussion about interactive learning environments and science education.


Interactive learning environments knowledge representations control technology 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adamson, E. & Helgoe, C. (1989) Exploring art and technology. In: G. Schuyten & M. Valcke (eds.) Teaching and learning in Logo-based Environments. Proceedings, Gent 1989}. 58–69. Amsterdam-Washington, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  2. Argles, D. (1991) Logo and control: two years on. In: E. Calabrese (ed.) Third European Logo Conference. Proceedings, Parma 1991. 259–286. Parma: ASIGoogle Scholar
  3. Bloom, J.W. (1992) The development of scientific knowledge in elementary school children: a context of meaning perspective. Science Education 74(4), 399–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Browning, C.A. (1991) Reflections on using Lego®TC Logo in an elementary classroom. In: E. Calabrese (ed.) Third European Logo Conference. Proceedings, Parma 1991. 173–186. Parma: ASIGoogle Scholar
  5. Cobb, P. (1987) Information-processing psychology and mathematics education-a constructivist perspective. Journal of Mathematical Behaviour 6, 3–40.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, P.J. & Hersh, R. (1981) The mathematical experience. Boston: Houghton MifflinGoogle Scholar
  7. Forman, G. & Pufall, P. (1988) Constructivism in the computer age. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  8. Galili, I. & Bar, V. (1992) Motion implies force: where to expect vestiges of the misconception? International Journal of Science Education 14(1), 63–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kilpatrick, J. (1987) What constructivism might be in mathematics education. In: J.C. Bergeron, N. Herscovics & C. Kieran (eds.). Proceedings of P.M.E. XI. 3–27. Montreal: P.M.E.Google Scholar
  10. O’Loughlin, M. (1992) Rethinking science education: beyond Piagetian constructivism toward a sociocultural model of teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Education 29(8), 791–820Google Scholar
  11. Rousseau, M., Dewez, D. & Rorive, D. (1991) How children from ages 3 to 14 progress in the classroom with Logo. In: E. Calabrese (ed.) Third European Logo Conference. Proceedings, Parma 1991. 121–128. Parma: ASIGoogle Scholar
  12. Rumelhart, D.E. & Norman, D.A. (1981) Analogical processes in learning. In: J.R. Anderson (ed.) Cognitive skills and their acquisition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence ErlbaumGoogle Scholar
  13. Saxena, A.B. (1992) An attempt to remove misconceptions related to electricity. International Journal of Science Education 14(2), 157–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Slavin, R.E. (1991) Educational psychology-Theory into practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-HallGoogle Scholar
  15. Slone, M. & Bokhurst, F.D. (1992) Children’s understanding of sugar water solutions. International Journal of Science Education 14(2), 221–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Spencer, K. (1988) The psychology of educational technology and instructional media. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Tuckey, C. (1992) Children’s informal learning at an interactive science centre. International Journal of Science Education 14(3), 273–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Valcke, M.M.A. (1990) Effecten van het werken met Logo-microwerelden. Unpublished dissertation. Gent: State university GentGoogle Scholar
  19. Vergnaud, G. (1987) About constructivism. In: J.C. Bergeron, N. Herscovics & C. Kieran (eds.). Proceedings of P.M.E. XI. 42–5. Montreal: P.M.E.Google Scholar
  20. Vygotsky, L. (1962) Thought and language. London: John Wiley & SonsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wertsch, J.V. (1979) From social interaction to higher psychological processes-a clarification and application of Vygotsky’s theory. Human Development 22, 1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Winn, P.H. (1990) Some implications of cognitive theory for instructional design. Instructional Science 19, 53–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. A. Valcke
    • 1
  1. 1.Open University, Centre for Educational Technology and InnovationThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations