American higher education prepares adults for productive citizenship in a democratic society. Successful adults in 21st century America must gather and process rapidly evolving information, cope with ambiguity and complexity, manage diverse perspectives in a global society, and make informed judgments in the face of competing arguments. These advanced cognitive abilities and skills, often called critical or reflective thinking, are essential outcomes of higher education. In addition to acquiring knowledge, successful learners discover how to continue learning beyond formal educational settings. The role of distributed learning environments in promoting cognitive skill and ability raises questions about the role of human interaction, the role of educator and learner, and learners' self-directedness.

Cognitive Development and Learning

Learning is the process of acquiring basic knowledge, the ability to apply it ...

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