Learning Artifacts

Eric Sheninger, The Forum, Jun 23, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
files/images/knowledgespiral.jpg

I appreciate the attempt to explain and justify the creation and use of learning artifacts, but I think it needs to be done with more caution than done here. Eric Sheninger cites with reference to Donald Clark a 'knowledge creation spiral' (pictured) that explains how artifacts lead to declarative knowledge, which in turn leads to procedural knowledge. But the epistemology here is mostly fiction. There's no mechanism for (for example) an artifact to insert the proposition "water is liquid" (to use an example from Clark's page) into our heads, and from this, no procedural knowledge follows at all. And without a mechanism, the theory is indistinguishable from magic. Artifacts are useful, but not as generators of propositions.

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