Modelling conceptual change as foraging for explanations on an epistemic landscape


We discuss here conceptual change and the formation of robust learning outcomes from the viewpoint of complex dynamic systems, where students’ conceptions are seen as context dependent and multifaceted structures which depend on the context of their application. According to this view the conceptual patterns (i.e. intuitive conceptions) may be robust in a certain situation but are not formed, at last not as robust ones, in another situation. We use computational modelling in understanding the generic dynamic and emergent features of that phenomenon. The model shows how context dependence, described here through structure of epistemic landscape, leads to formation of context dependent robust states. The sharply defined nature of these states makes learning to appear as a progression of switch from state to another, given appearance of conceptual change as switch form one robust state to another.

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