Technologies for intentional learning: Beyond a cognitive perspective

J. Michael Spector, Chanmin Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The concept of intentional learning is well established in the educational community. Intentional learning implies that there is a recognized learning goal and that those involved are rational agents who can make choices with regard to achieving that goal. There are typically two different kinds of people involved in a learning situation - learners and those supporting learners (teachers, tutors, trainers, intelligent pedagogical agents, etc.). It is important to recognize that the goals of learners and those who are designated to support them may differ. Optimal learning occurs when such differences are minimized. A second well-established concept in education is that of engagement. Educational research has established time-on-task as a significant predictor of learning - the more time that a student spends on a learning task, the more likely that student is to master that task. More recently, this concept has been expanded to include initiating and sustaining engagement along with motivation and volition. According to the widely accepted constructivist epistemology, a person creates internal representations (a cognitive activity) to make sense of things that the person experiences, especially things that are new or puzzling in some way. In this paper, we review the logical landscape of the cognitive perspective of intentional learning and argue that it is incomplete without also taking into consideration a more holistic account of human learning that includes noncognitive aspects involved in human experience, somewhat akin to embodied cognition. Our review provides reminders of research-based principles that can inform technology-enhanced efforts to support intentional learning and promote engagement. We conclude with a framework for integrating technologies that are likely to engage learners taking into account a variety of learning goals, situations, and learners. This review is preliminary and intended to suggest areas worth investigating to elaborate a more complete picture of how best to promote and support intentional learning and active learner engagement using available technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-22
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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