Models of Models
Hugh Dubberly in Interactions (2009)
“Models describe relationships: parts that make up wholes; structures that bind them; and how parts behave in relation to one another.”
Models bridge the gap between observing and making. Evidence leads to model building. With this acquired sense, we can mold, predict, manipulate the world around us, and eventually take this knowledge to action.
Models are hypotheses. We test them constantly. Without a blueprint understanding of concepts, we could not recall past experiences as having an effect on our current events.
When incoming information does not reflect our current model understanding, an observer can (1) reject the data, or (2) accept the new data and classify the new information in an expanded model, or disregard it (despite its existence).
- Creating new models
- Revisiting old models
- Extending a model to correspond with observation
- Refining a model
- Generalizing a model, or putting whole model in context of a larger model
- Identifying model primatives or patterns
On a scale of…
- the individual
- the work-group
- the organization/collective
- the culture
The processes of learning at each level involve:
- Primary processes – activity at hand
- Secondary processes – direct learning through modeling primary process
- Third-order processes – meta-learning and improving of models
Models are the essence of system design.
“All models have a purpose and serve constituents. Models have a point of view; and they advocate it. Models are always political. Framing a system—defining it—is editing.
“Directly observe the system; record your observations.
“Create quick, low-fidelity sketches. Identify the system’s elements and write the name of each on a Post-It note. At the beginning, don’t worry about having too many elements or the wrong elements. Editing comes later.”