There is also the book: Computers as Cognitive Tools. No more walls. (Susanne P. Lajoie, 2000) that needs to be revised, particularly the epilogue: Fallible, distractible, forgetful, wilful, and irrational learners.
Analysis of the article
The basic idea of the article is that web-based or computers can be seen as cognitive tools as they are used to re-present knowledge that has already been learned or that needs to be processed in order to learn it. Computers can be seen as cognitive tools that can expand learner’s thinking. I think one analogy that could be made here is VLEs seen as computers in front of which students are passives and asked to operate in a closed already made system whereas in a PLE the student is asked to design it, think about which tools can support which bit of the learning, how to organise a digital working space, how to find ways in which new tools can serve the purpose of old ones but adding new features, the tasks involved in a learning process. PLEs are seen using Jonassen’s framework, as cognitive tools, like constructive environments, where students need to interact with the environment in order to create it and also to use it as a workbench to re-present the knowledge for which has been designed for:
Learners function as designers when they use computers as cognitive tools for analysing the world, accessing information, interpreting and organising their personal knowledge, and representing what they know to others. Cognitive tools are generalisable computer tools that are intended to engage and facilitate cognitive processing, hence cognitive tools. (Kommers, Jonassen, & Mayes, 1992). They are knowledge construction and facilitation tools that can be applied to any subject matter domain represented in university.(p.2)
Learners as designers: The process of articulating the knowledge in order to construct the artefact or even in choosing the tools to create that artefact forces the designer to reflect on the knowledge and its process of transformation in new and meaningful ways. Give the representational power of the tool to the learner. Perkins (1993, cited by Jonassens) is of the idea that tools are powerful in their ability to represent knowledge, if that is for what they are chosen to, but they are not “fingertip” tools that learners use naturally, effortlessly and, effectively. Rather they provide an environment and vehicle that ofter demand from the learner to think harder about the knowledge they want to represent generating thoughts that without the tool may have not arisen.