Distributed learning and mutual adaptation
If distributed cognition is to become a general analytic frame, it needs to handle more aspects of cognition than just highly efficient problem solving. It should also handle learning. We identify four classes of distributed learning: induction, repurposing, symbiotic tuning, and mutual adaptation. The four classes of distributed learning fit into a two-dimensional space defined by the stability and adaptability of individuals and their environments. In all four classes of learning, people and their environments are highly interdependent during initial learning. At the same time, we present evidence indicating that certain types of interdependence in early learning, most notably mutual adaptation, can help prepare people to be less dependent on their immediate environment and more adaptive when they confront new environments. We also describe and test examples of learning technologies that implement mutual adaptation.