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Model-Based Learning and Performance

Norbert M. Seel
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Model-based learning is both a new and old paradigm of psychology and education. In pedagogy we can find this idea since decades (and until today various conceptions of model-based learning have been developed in the fields of mathematics, physics or geography education aiming at guided discovery and exploratory learning. Traditionally, there are two major approaches of theory and research on model-based learning: A functional-pragmatic approach and a constructivist approach, which is closely related with the theory of mental models. This chapter focuses on both approaches with a particular emphasis on measuring the effects of model-based learning on different performance criteria, such as understanding and problem solving, analogical reasoning, and situation-dependent decision making.
The chapter starts with a description of the theoretical foundation of model-based learning with a particular emphasis on the learning-dependent progression of mental models and its systematic assessment by means of particular diagnostic methodologies. The epistemology and psychology of mental models as the fundamental basis of model-based learning are described whereby models will be separated from cognitive schemas, discussed as the 'building blocks” of the psychological understanding of cognition. The impact of mental models on comprehension and problem solving as well as on analogical reasoning and decision making is discussed. Comprehension and reasoning in specific situations necessarily involve the use of mental models of different qualities. Besides the mental model approach, model-building activities have been emphasized in various areas of instructional research aiming at the improvement of learning and problem solving in subject matter domains, such as physics or mathematics. In contrast to the mental model approach, these instructional approaches of model-based learning correspond with functionalist-pragmatic conceptions of model-building activities within the realm of mathematics and physics education. Both approaches of model-based learning have had initiated numerous empirical studies which are summarized and discussed.
Von Norbert M. Seel im Buch Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (2014) im Text Model-Based Learning and Performance

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