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Assignment 1

1. Briefly discuss conceptual change as seen by Jonassen

Meaningful learning forms the bases of conceptual change. The learning is intentional
and dynamic, which occurs within a constructive process.

• Intentional refers to deliberate and purposeful action to bring about change

• Dynamic describes a vibrant, vigorous active process that are not lethargic or
apathetic and tend to change according to the maturity level of the domain

• Constructive indicate a positive and productive way to utilize the domain

knowledge in order to construct new authentic ideas.

Conceptual change occurs when learners change their understanding of the concepts
they use and of the conceptual framework that include them. Smith. (et al. 1993) refers
to conceptual change as an evolutionary process of adding concepts and reorganizing
knowledge structures to include new concepts. However I, tend to differ with the above
mentioned statement. The focus of conceptual change is to construct new knowledge
and utilize that to build models to solve problems. The models that learners build and
alter indicate the constructed knowledge by changing the conceptions of what they are
learning. A lack of skill to build a model is a clear indication that learning was not
constructed effectively and learning did not occur.

Revolutionary theorists such as (Thagard, 1992), state that conceptual change occurs if
there are inconsistencies with regard to learners personal believes and assumptions.
This leads to the believe that we are persuaded to change our perceptions to accept
new knowledge. Data that had not been processed, can contradict the existing
conceptualization of knowledge, that will ultimately result in change when processed, to
form information and therefore creating models to solve problems.

Conceptual change will be hampered if low domain knowledge is experienced. This will
ultimately lead to a lack of conceptual change. Conceptual change is a flow that is
controlled by alearner’s outlook to change.
2. Briefly explain Jonassen’s use of the term modeling

Modeling refers to the building and construction of models. These models function as
tools and instruments for investigations. They are intellectual autonomy that is
independent from theories.

By building these instruments of models, we find out what elements of theory fit together
that are real and relevant. Through this process, choices are made and in the decision
making process lays the learning.

According to Morgan, we learn from using models, but the actual learning depends on
how we transfer the skills and knowledge we learn. Through construction we put
together parts of life experiences that are authentic. This can be manipulated by
influencing and it can control learning by adding to the existing knowledge. The models
can be tested by adding it to the new domain knowledge. Conceptual modeling provides
an intellectual engine that creates an opportunity to solve problems. The intellectual
engine refers to careful thinking and is a mental effort.
3. Briefly discuss the meaning of the word mindtool

 A mindtool is a Technology based conceptual tool. As an analogy to the use of

hand tools in physical constructions, a constructivist view of education advocates
the development and use of 'mind tools' for knowledge construction. These tools
can be internal [e.g. self-talk, memory devices, strategies) or external (e.g.
computer hardware and software] to the learner. With reference to computer-
based mind tools, this means moving away from software that simply presents
information to the learner, and towards software that the learner can use to
develop their own understandings [by collecting, organizing, and analyzing
'Mindtools' can be used to teach critical thinking and problem solving, as well as
to develop or even change the perception of concepts

• Jonassen describes Mindtools as "a way of using a computer application program

to engage learners in constructive, higher-order, critical thinking about the subjects
they are studying". The learner enters an intellectual partnership with the computer
and begins to access and interpret information, and organize personal knowledge
in new ways. Mindtools are computer-based tools and learning environments,
which serve as extensions of the mind. Examples of mindtools are:

• database tools
• spreadsheets
• semantic networks (concept maps)
• computer conferencing
• hypermedia construction
• mind maps
• diagram software
• graphic software
• word processors
• EPPS-Shells.

Learning WITH cognitive tools or mindtools refers to "the mindful engagement of

learners in the tasks afforded by these tools and .... the possibility of qualitatively
upgrading the performance of the joint system of learner plus technology." In other
words, when students work WITH computer technology, instead of being controlled by
it, they enhance the capabilities of the computer, and the computer enhances their
thinking and learning.
4. Briefly state the purpose of modeling

The purpose of modeling is to conceptualize elements, rules, operations and relations.

Through the use of modeling, these concepts are expressed and internalized, by using
external representation.

There are two types of models:

Internal (In mind)

According to the mental model theory, problem solving depends on the construction and
manipulation of mental models (internal representations) in the mind. The construction
of a mental model results from links made between the elements of the problem
description and the underlying knowledge base.
External (Which can be concrete)
It can make use of Math diagrams / Mindmaps / Language /Diagrams, etc.

External models can also be divided into:

Qualitative - Expressed in words
Quantitative Expressed in numerical digits
Formulae (Science or Math)
Mathematical Models

Models of concepts or models of knowledge internalize these concepts and knowledge.

In other words, the purpose of modeling is to make concepts easier to understand and
part of your knowledge. According to Jonassen, If you can produce a model of a
concept, you understand and know this concept.
Question 5

Briefly discuss the modeling of domain knowledge, systems, thinking,, problem

solving and experiences.

Domain knowledge

Construction of models of domain knowledge involves a variety of modeling tools. Two

can be identified e.g. concept mapping and system modeling tools. Concept maps
serve to represent semantic structures of the domain knowledge and therefore
constructing a model will ensure better understanding of concepts that mere
memorizing. Domain principles are represented whereby learners are able to test and
describe their mental models of the phenomena.. A limitation is that the relationships
among variables are not stated explicitly and that is the linearity of the structure can be


Models of systems are indicative of an integrated view of the world. It enables the
learner to build models that focus and their internal interactions. Models on systems
can show a function of factors, as part of a larger whole. It can also show the
interactions of components within any system.


Instead of modeling content the kind of thinking that are required to solve a problem,
make a decision or complete a task can also be constructed an a model.


Meaning to experiences and personal actions can be organized in the form of stories. In
this method content is collected and studied. This information can be put in a model for
example in a database.
Question 6

Briefly discuss the limitations of model mindtools

Cognitive load.

The construction of models is not an easy task; it demands a greater cognitive effort
from the person doing the constructing. Integrating of the textual and diagrammatic
information are said to place heavy demands on working memory. The fact that
integration of multiple sources of information needs to be integrated in constructing of

Developmental differences

Models that are constructed require a specific level of intellectual development therefore
different kinds of models would require different kinds of intellectual development.
Databases and concept maps might be easy for younger learners whereas system
modeling tools might be more advanced.


Models are easily misunderstood because persons n understand them to be identical to

the models themselves. The fact is that models are representations of the phenomena
they implicate. To be able to represent the world by means of a model are indeed very
complex. Models have assumption which is sometimes not illustrated directly which
leaves the interpreter vulnerable to interpretation of the model.