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Arguing to learn and learning to argue: design justifications and guidelines


Meaningful learning requires deep engagement with ideas. Deep engagement is supported by the critical thinking skill of argumentation. Learning to argue represents an important way of thinking that facilitates conceptual change and is essential for problem solving. In order to appropriately apply argumentation practices to learning, we first discuss reasons for using argumentation in learning environments or instruction. Next, we describe the skills of argumentation along with difficulties that learners experience when trying to argue. Following a brief description of the kinds of argumentation to persuade an audience of the validity of your position or solution (rhetorical) or to attempt to resolve differences in opinions or solutions (dialectical), we describe methods and guidelines for eliciting arguments from students. We conclude with processes for assessing the quality of student-generated arguments.

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Correspondence to David H. Jonassen.

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Jonassen, D.H., Kim, B. Arguing to learn and learning to argue: design justifications and guidelines. Education Tech Research Dev 58, 439–457 (2010).

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  • Argumentation
  • Problem solving
  • Computer-supported collaborative argumentation