Information communication technology in the form of an expert system shell as a cognitive tool to facilitate higher-order thinking

Gary W. Collins, Johan G. Knoetze


Information communication technology is capable of contributing supplementary teaching and learning strategies that can be used to address various educational challenges faced by higher education. Students who enter South African higher education institutions are often academically under-prepared and have not developed the cognitive skills required to engage in meaningful learning. When students build expert systems they are required to demonstrate the reasoning of an expert and to exhibit an understanding of causal relationships and procedural knowledge. This study formulated design principles in the form of conjectures and principles related to a learning environment that uses technology as a cognitive tool in the form of an expert system shell to promote higher-order thinking skills. The conjectures and principles formulated during this study are expressed in terms of the characteristics, procedures and arguments associated with a learning environment that uses technology in the form of an expert system shell to facilitate higher-order thinking. These conjectures and principles were separated into seven interrelated clusters: initial exposure, guided discovery learning, designing the expert system on paper, creating domain awareness, linking conceptual understanding to a representation of that understanding, hands-on development, and problem engagement.


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