ERIC Number: ED346845
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Charting Pathways of Conceptual Change in the Use of Computer Software.
Kay, Robin H.
Researchers of computer ability have been largely influenced by the Galtonian perspective of intelligence assessment: a predominantly linear, construct-driven model based on identifying statistically determined factors. The use of this methodology, though, has far more to do with utility than theoretical rigor. Notably absent from this kind of approach is data on process--how a subject interacts with the computer. This study looked at the process of knowledge acquisition in a computer-based environment. Six subjects (two males, four females) were videotaped while learning a new spreadsheet software package. A detailed examination of their think-aloud protocols is presented which addresses the role of previous experience, the use of metaphors, the effects of task interpretation, and use of terminology. The following conclusions were reached: (1) there is no clear relation between previous computer-related skills and the successful completion of spreadsheet learning tasks; (2) subjects actively attempt to learn by using a variety of metaphors; (3) task interpretation affects how subjects behave and the kind of errors they make while learning; (4) terminology is related to degree of understanding of new tasks; and (5) a process-oriented approach to examining computer ability provides a rich source of theoretical and pedagogical information. Protocol instructions for subjects are appended. (22 references) (Author/BBM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992). For a related paper, see IR 015 641.