Schank, P., & Schlager, M. S. (1996). Facilitating collaborative problem solving with Distant Mentor. CSCW ’96 Videos, Demonstrations, and Short Papers, pp. 7-8. NY: Association for Computing Machinery.
This work addresses the problem of helping learners develop concepts and skills needed to be productive in the fast-changing technical workplace. It marries the kind of informal, on-demand learning preferred by workplace professionals and advocated by learning theorists with the support for learning at a distance afforded by networked computing environments (Schlager, Means, O’Day, & Poirier, 1994). Our cognitive mentoring model of collaborative learning (Schlager, Poirier, & Means, 1996) is based on the idea of individually tailored assistance provided at the learner’s request when an impasse is encountered in problem solving. We have studied such interactions in the workplace (as well as classroom interactions) and developed a synchronous collaboration/simulation environment called Distant Mentor (DM) to facilitate mentoring from a distance (Schlager et al., 1994). This report describes a study that demonstrates how our prototype technology can support cognitive mentoring over a computer network.