Strategic Knowledge of Computer Applications: The Key to Efficient Computer Use

Cecille Marsh
InSITE 2007  •  Volume 7  •  2007
There are many initiatives to train people in using Information and Communication Technology but several international studies have shown that despite adequate computing experience, many users do not make efficient use of computer applications. This may be caused by a lack of strategic knowledge that is difficult to acquire just by knowing how to use commands. Research by Bhavnani and others indicates that the efficient use of computers requires task decomposition strategies that exploit the capabilities offered by computer applications, and they maintain that these general strategies can in fact be built into an instructional framework. The researcher replicated Bhavnani’s work with technologically disadvantaged South African tertiary students in order to ascertain whether the instructional framework was effective for students with very different backgrounds, and also to ascertain whether it was sufficiently robust to be successfully implemented at a distance from the original designers. Transfer of strategic knowledge across computer applications was also investigated. An experimental research design was followed with experimental and control groups of Engineering students. The results showed that several of the students could be taught to recognize and exploit strategic knowledge. It is also apparent that the command instruction given to the control group was not sufficient for them to acquire such strategic knowledge. The results also indicated some transfer of strategic knowledge across the applications.
Computer training, ICT literacy, Strategic knowledge, Innovative instruction
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