Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 21, issue 1 (2013) pp. 89-100
Learning Networks (LNs) are online social networks designed to support nonformal learning; they are therefore particularly suitable for self-directed learners. In LNs, learners need to construct knowledge through knowledge sharing with other participants. However, without support, learners have to organize knowledge sharing themselves and this could induce extraneous cognitive load. When working on complex learning tasks, this organizing process could have a detrimental effect on knowledge construction. To optimize cognitive load, we propose using a peer support system that applies the mechanisms of peer tutoring to support knowledge sharing. Its mechanisms reduce, we argue, the extraneous load imposed by having to organize knowledge sharing as well as induce germane load by directing the freed-up cognitive capacity to processes that contribute to knowledge construction.
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