Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



It is argued that today's scarcity of computer tools compatible with human experience derives from an antiquated dualistic model of mind, as passed down through the mid-20th century, during the early development of the computer and artificial intelligence, and up to the present day. Rather than settle for technology as inevitable and instead of depending upon worldviews that are no longer aligned with current empirical findings on human cognition, this thesis renders a broad imperative for a design theory informed by an ecological understanding of mind in society, with a worldview that reflects the historical development of technology as tools, not objects. The search for such design principles begins as an examination of earlier technologies, what has been learned from their development, as well as from established theories of mind from cognitive science and what they reveal about human cognition. A theoretical critique is presented that claims empirical findings from cognitive science are rarely used to design those technologies intended to assist with thinking tasks, specifically computers and computer tools. All of these preliminary investigations clear the way to a larger Theory of Pattern in technology design.

Degree Name

Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Organization, Information & Learning Sciences

First Advisor

Salisbury, Mark

First Committee Member (Chair)

Livingston, Paul

Second Committee Member

Boverie, Patricia




Educational technology, Computer-assisted instruction

Document Type