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- A task environment refers to the choices, actions and outcomes a given user has for a given task.
- Formally speaking, a task environment can be described as a directed graph where the nodes are states and the links are actions. Some links will lead to final states that represent completion of the task.
- Note that task environments themselves can be changed by actors, i.e. he can redesign the task itself. In addition the debate is open to what exactly is inside or ouside the task environment.
- A given task environments includes cognitive artifacts, e.g. cognitive tools that provide affordances for action.
Rational vs. situated definition
“The two - person and environment -- are coordinated in the sense that reaching a goal state depends on both sides doing their part.” (Kirsh, 1999).
Design of activity-based learning environments
- Regarding the design of learning environments we may conclude from Kirsh's empirically founded research that such environments must both support rational "Simon-style" learning task centered and problem-space related activities, but also very open-ended "surprising" moves. In addition environments should be "malleable", i.e. adapt at least somewhat to user's behaviors. In particular it must provide tools that can be used in various creative ways.
- Kirsh, D. (1999): Distributed Cognition, Coordination and Environment Design, In Proceedings of the European Cognitive Science Society. HTML.
- Kirsh, D. (1996). Adapting the Environment Instead of Oneself. Adaptive Behavior, Vol 4, No. 3/4, 415-452. HTML
- Kirsh D. (1995). Complementary Strategies: Why we use our hands when we think. In Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.