Models of Models

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).

Learning:

  • 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…

  1. the individual
  2. the work-group
  3. the organization/collective
  4. the culture

The processes of learning at each level involve:

  1. Primary processes – activity at hand
  2. Secondary processes – direct learning through modeling primary process
  3. 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.”

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Creating Concept Maps

Creating Concept Maps
Hugh Dubberly

“Concept maps are made up of webs of terms (nodes) related by verbs (links) to other terms (nodes). The purpose of a concept map is to represent (on a single visual plane) a person’s mental model of a concept.”

How to create a concept map:

  1. Create a list of words, from a source or from your general understanding
  2. Edit the list. Combine, separate, reclassify, or remove words according to the project goals.
  3. Define the terms
    • consider making a matrix of terms and if your gut says their relational, put an “x” and this will serve as a check list
  4. Triage the terms into key terms, details, or middle-ground terms.
    • Ground the key terms into a sentence. Make secondary sentences that define the key terms to begin your branches
    • Scope and structure can be redefined and reimagined as need be to assist the project goal

With these steps accomplished, a typography hierarchy can be established to reflect concept hierarchy.

Learning How to Learn

Learning How to Learn
Joseph D. Novak & D.Bob Gowin

Chapter 1. Learning about Learning

“We are concerned with educating people and with helping people to learn to educate themselves.”

Two tools:

  1. Concept maps
  2. Educational Vee diagrams
concept-maps2
Sample concept map of Novak & Gowin’s book

Chapter 2. Concept Mapping for Meaningful Learning

Concept maps showcase relationships between concepts in the form of propositions (concepts linked by words). The framework of propositions defines and reinforces a concept.

Concepts maps should be hierarchical, as concepts should subsist within other broader concepts and vice versa. These propositions and structures only model our current understanding of the neural networks utilized in learning and recall.

Felt Significance: the experience by a learner of a profound nature which is direct reaction to a new concept or propositional relationship and its impact on a new perception of such concepts and propositions.

Learning is an individual’s responsibility to instill information. Meaning is a fluid, in that it can be discussed, negotiated and agreed upon.

Introducing concepts (and propositions) to students:

  1. concepts must be explicitly observed and identified in the “real world”
  2. separation of concepts and linking words is necessary to see the relationship towards conveying meaning
  3. concept mapping puts a visual face on concepts and propositions, a sense that physiologically affords greater recall and recognition
  4. linking words are important, as it is often many linking words that can go between two concepts

Concept maps are helpful in learning because they explore what the learner already knows.