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A computer-mediated support system for project-based learning

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Project-based learning places demands on learners and instructors that challenge the traditional practices and support structures of schools. Learning from doing complex, challenging, and authentic projects requires resourcefulness and planning by the student, new forms of knowledge representation in school, expanded mechanisms for collaboration and communication, and support for reflection and authentic assessment. This article describes a computer-mediated learning-support system designed as a suite of integrated, internet-based client-server tools to provide (a) intelligent support both for the processes of doing a project and for learning from doing a project, and (b) a shared dynamic knowledge base for working and learning in a community supporting project-based education. The article describes the architecture of the system, its current state of development, and findings from an initial deployment. This articulation of the system components and findings can benefit several groups. It can help (a) educators envisioning the role of technology in augmenting authentic forms of learning, (b) developers of other support systems as they compare features and implications, and (c) researchers as they frame questions about human-computer interactions in learning systems.

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Correspondence to James Laffey.

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Laffey, J., Tupper, T., Musser, D. et al. A computer-mediated support system for project-based learning. ETR&D 46, 73–86 (1998).

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