Learning by Constructing Representations

A symposium at EARLI 2005

Chaired by Erica de Vries and Shaaron Ainsworth

Discussed by Tina Seufert

Many learning situations offer multiple forms of representations for learners to interpret, but there is increasing interest in asking learners to construct their own external representations. In addition to editing text, learners may construct graphs, build models, draw pictures or write equations. Despite the large amount of research on interpreting representations, much research needs to be done as to the role of construction activities in learning with computer-based representations or with more traditional paper-and-pencil representations. A number of questions should be addressed if we are to understand learning through construction. These include: What are forms of representation are suggested, used and/or invented by learners? How does collaborative construction differ from that of individual construction? What roles does construction play in the processes and products in learning? When is it advantageous to construct a representation versus interpret a given representation? What support do learners need to construct representations? The papers address a wide range of learning topics which vary in the number of permissible solutions to problems (single correct versus multiple permissible answers) and tools used to support representation construction, i.e. from pen and paper to on-line discussion and simulation environments. Consequently, the main aim of the symposium is to address these questions by bringing together researchers with varied approaches to the study of learners' construction of external representations.


Marije van Amelsvoort, Jerry Andriessen & Gellof Kanselaar: Co-elaborating knowledge with external representations

[slides] [abstract]

Wouter van Joolingen, Simone Löhner & Elwin Savelsberg Dynamic modeling, the added value of simulating a representation

[slides] [abstract]

Shaaron Ainsworth & Ioanna Iacovides:Learning by constructing self-explanation diagrams

[slides] [abstract]

Erica de Vries: Analysing external representations as design problem solving products

[slides] [abstract]

Tina Seufert:Discussant's notes