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The relation between students’ epistemological understanding of computer models and their cognitive processing on a modelling task

[journal article]

Sins, Patrick; Joolingen, Wouter R. van; Savelsbergh, Elwin; Hout-Wolters, Bernadette van

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Abstract While many educators and researchers in science have been arguing that students’ epistemological understanding of models and the process of modelling influences how they cognitively process a modelling task, there has been little evidence directly relating the two. Therefore, in this study students’ level of epistemological understanding of models and modelling was examined as well as the relationship between students’ cognitive processing (i.e. deep versus surface processing) during modelling and their epistemological understanding. Twenty-six students, working in dyads, were observed while working on a computer-based modelling task in the domain of physics. Students’ epistemological understanding was assessed on four categories (i.e. nature of models, purposes of models, process of modelling, and evaluation of models). Results indicate a significant relationship between students’ epistemological understanding and the level of their cognitive processing. From these results, we emphasise the necessity of considering epistemological issues in research as well as in educational practice.
Classification Curriculum, Teaching, Didactics; Developmental Psychology
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 1205-1229
Journal International Journal of Science Education, 31 (2009) 9
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690802192181
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)