Always Under Construction
Dynamic Variations in Adult Cognitive MicrodevelopmentYan Z. · Fischer K.
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, Mass., USA
People’s activities vary dynamically from moment to moment, and analysis of level of skill complexity in successive activities provides a tool to portray and analyze variation as skills are learned. Systematic examination of these variations is crucial for illuminating the dynamic nature of learning and development – the ways that people construct activities under the influence of multiple factors interacting in complex ways, in context, over time. A study of adults learning to use a computer program illustrates three important patterns in the dynamic variation of adult cognitive microdevelopment: (1) each person’s performance levels vary within a range between upper and lower attractors during dynamic construction of a skill. (2) Performance moves through different pathways from a novice pattern to a transitional pattern characterized by scalloping (repeated building up and collapse of complex performance) to an expert pattern. Social scaffolding plays an important role in moving a learner toward the upper attractor. (3) Each person functions at diverse levels depending on demands of the task, domain, background, scaffolding, and capacity and thus shows asynchrony in level, not simple consistency. Tasks and situations attract specific skill levels that are often below people’s highest capacities.
© 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel
Zheng Yan, Human Development and Psychology
Harvard University Graduate School of Education
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Number of Print Pages : 20
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 74
Founded 1958 as ‘Vita Humana’ by H. Thomae
Vol. 45, No. 3, Year 2002 (Cover Date: May-June 2002)
Journal Editor: Barbara Rogoff, Santa Cruz, Calif.
ISSN: 0018–716X (print), 1423–0054 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/hde