TITLE

Epistemology, situated cognition, and mental models: 'Like a bridge over troubled water'

AUTHOR(S)
Seel, Norbert M.
PUB. DATE
July 2001
SOURCE
Instructional Science;Jul-Sep2001, Vol. 29 Issue 4/5, p403
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Over the past two decades important educational implications have been drawn mainly from two movements of epistemology: Constructivism and situated cognition. Aside from a meta-theoretical use of constructivism, the concept 'situated cognition' refers to a conception of situational context bound to a historically and socially determined situational logic. Focusing on educational processes, situated cognition is considered to be a central construct for instruction, as is the closely related concept of the construction of mental models. There are various kinds of the construction and change of mental models in a situational context: self-guided inductive construction is one example; another is the processing of a conceptual model provided to the learner. An emerging question is how the preconception changes and if the effects of such a model transition are stable. An exploratory study will be sketched which investigates the significance of a conceptual model provided at the beginning of the learning process; it has been hypothesized, that such a conceptual model significantly impacts the stability (i.e. the successful reconstruction) of mental models built in the course of learning. Also considerable intraindividual differences and changes between two points of assessing the learners' causal explanations were found. Similarities of the individuals' reconstructions could be explained with regard to similarities of the structures of the learning situations and the related instructional intervention. In general, the results of this exploratory study support the assumption that mental models are constructed in dependence on the demands of learning situations.
ACCESSION #
16980116

 

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