Social Foundations of Learning
These projects are exploring how to make technologies that enhance the best of social interaction for learning while mitigating the worst.
Learning With Others
Learning with other people confers special benefits that can be difficult to achieve working alone. Our lab works to identify these benefits, so it is possible to answer the questions: (a) when is it ideal to use social learning arrangements, and (b) how can technologies facilitate or simulate productive social learning arrangements?
In one line of research, we have found that simply believing that one is interacting with another person leads to superior learning, compared to working alone or with a computer-controlled character. When people interact with other people they pay more attention, show moderate increases in arousal, and are more attentive to feedback.
In a separate line of work, we have tried to understand some of the unique outcomes of collaboration, especially in the context of "making things." We have found that collaborating yields more well-structured ideas. We have further theorized that producing ideas and seeing them taken up by others is the basis of human agency, and has exceptional benefits for learning.
- Okita, S. A., & Schwartz, D. L. (in press). Learning by teaching human pupils and teachable agents: A focus on recursive feedback. Journal of the Learning Sciences.
- Okita, S.Y., Bailenson, J., Schwartz, D. L. (2007). The mere belief of social interaction improves learning. In D. S. McNamara & J. G. Trafton (Eds.), The Proceedings of the 29th Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1355-1360). August, Nashville, USA.
- Schwartz, D. L. (1995) The emergence of abstract representations in dyad problem solving. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4, 321-354.
- Schwartz, D. L. (1999). The productive agency that drives collaborative learning. In P. Dillenbourg (Ed.), Collaborative learning: Cognitive and computational approaches (pp. 197-218). NY: Elsevier Science.