Conceptual and Procedural Knowledge

  • Robert McCormick


The ideas that underlie the title of this chapter have been part of a familiar debate in education, namely that of the contrast of content and process. In both science and mathematics similar arguments have taken place, and these debates represent a healthy examination of, not only the aims of science and mathematics education, but the teaching and learning issues, and as such they reflect the relative maturity of these subject areas. Even in technology education, which is still in its infancy as a subject, echoes of these debates exist and there are contrasts of approaches to the balance of process and content across the world. The 'debate' in technology is evangelical in nature, with for example, proponents making claims for problem-solving approaches as a basis for teaching with few accounts and almost no empirical research of what actually happens in classrooms. There is insufficient consideration of the learning issues behind this, or other proposals, and it is timely to turn our attention to student learning. This article examines the nature of technological knowledge and what we know about learning related to it. The article argues that learning procedural and conceptual knowledge associated with technological activity poses challenges for both technology educators and those concerned with research on learning.

conceptual knowledge procedural knowledge problem solving design process 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert McCormick
    • 1
  1. 1.Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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