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In the case of the young basketball player she may

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Unformatted text preview: tion is the process of combining two or more productions into a single more efficient production representing a more complex skill. The result of composition is a more integrated and fluid performance of the series of actions comprising the skill. In the case of the young basketball player, she may combine several productions into her production sequence for defending her opponent for the full length of the court. Compilation is a natural consequence of practicing a new skill. As the production system for a new skill is formed the learner passes through three stages: a) cognitive, b) associative, and c) autonomous (Fitts & Posner 1967). In the cognitive stage, the learner must form a declarative representation of the new skill that accurately represents the goals, conditions, and actions of the skill (Anderson, 1983, 1987; Sweller, 1989, and Jitendra, DiPipi, & Perron-Jones, 2002). Effective instruction for learners in this stage would involve providing students with explanations, models, and guidance as they attempt to perform the skill. At this stage of skill learning, all of the instructional actions a teacher might take to help students elaborate and organize their understanding of the skill and manage their working memory load are appropriate. Manuscript 9/28/03 37 The learners’ early practice allows them to proceduralize portions of the skill and they enter into the associative stage (Fitts & Posner, 1967 and Anderson, 1987). At this stage the skill is represented by declarative knowledge and by the productions that resulted from earlier proceduralization. The existence of these first productions results in opportunities to combine productions through the composition process. At this stage providing learners with informative feedback is necessary to prevent learners from developing inappropriate production systems (Singley and Anderson 1989). Guided practice, or seat work, where the teacher observes the learners progress and corrects any errors is an appropriate instructional activity. In addition learners should practice the skill in as many variations of appropriate context as possible so as to maximize their ability to transfer the skill appropriately. The final stage is the autonomous stage and is defined by the completion of the compilation process (Fitts and Posner, 1967 and Anderson, 1987). Further practice at this stage serves to maintain the strength of the production. At this stage, opportunities for independent practice such as homework is appropriate. The activation (or retrieval) of procedural knowledge depends on the information that has been stored in the condition portion of a production. A production is activated only when the knowledge in working memory matches the pattern stored in the conditions portion of the production. This accounts for some of the difficulties learners have in appropriately applying skills they’ve learned. If the pattern of information stored in the conditions of a production are too general, then an action may be taken e...
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