Locating an ecological psychology methodology for situated action

Jonna M. Kulikowich, Michael F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We attempt to describe what a methodology for situated action should do for students given problem solving in school settings. Working from an ecological account of perception-action, we propose that a methodology for understanding situated action should afford the instructional designer (often the classroom teacher), the methodologist, and the problem solver opportunities to co-construct coupling dynamics that operate on multiple space and time scales including "real time." With this goal in mind, we propose the use of the Jasper Planning Assistant (JPA), an online learning and assessment system that becomes part of the design-learning-research situation and serves as a scaffold for the learner. Through analysis of log-file data produced by the JPA, we illustrate that a methodology for situated action should be neither a purely quantitative nor qualitative account, but rather an inscription - an emergent visualization of the coupling dynamics between a student and his or her environment. We conclude that ideally this emergent inscription should reveal the multiple space times in which problem solving is occurring, yet be reductive in such a way as to create affordances for future action: Methodology should have functional value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-202
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of the Learning Sciences
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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