In the long history of development, human beings became so different with animals by using the tools. But things has changed when man are not just creating usages for their own good, to survive the environment, but when he/she gets to learn how to use the tool or borrow it from his/ her family. The tools enhance people’s ability to perform tasks, from the systems view. Then, with more and more cognition of things being invented around us, we may abstract concepts, we have the symbolic artefacts, then we have abstraction layers, the more we know, the higher layer we got, the more efficient we become as learning or gain information. With the external symbolic storage, we can learn with higher efficiency, it is an effective teaching tool. We human get to learn, the cognition is not only in our mind, but distributed in the culture, society, media and so on.
Take the GPS as an example.
When we use the GPS to lead us the road, it is strengthening our performance in arriving the destination. GPS is the artifact, it changes our primary goal of get to the destination into several different tasks, and make the task easier for us to solve. We need to know how to use the GPS, that is how the distribution cognition bridge the gap. To use the GPS, you have to have cognition of everything present by the GPS. The map is an artefact media that contain the information for you to learn the layout of the road and buildings. You have gain the cognition of the directions, left, right, north, south, from interact with other individuals in your daily life. Then you may follow the lead of the GPS, and accomplish your task.
So our cognition is mostly influenced by the culture, which is deeply the foundation of our cognition, in our mind, then the local district we are in, then the individuals around us. So I think this theory, this model can be very meaningful in the education area, to design some kind of learning environment that similar to how our brain process, if that works, it can really improve our leaning efficiency, this can mean a lot.