The potential merits of Empirical Modelling (EM) as a new approach to generating software for educational use are examined. Connections between EM and the learning process are discussed. EM is proposed as a method of dealing with knowledge that is gained through experience of interaction with artefacts. The philosophical implications of this thesis are considered, with particular reference to the work of William James (1842-1910). The relationship between EM and current research on multi-user spreadsheets and agent-oriented modelling is also described. A practical agenda for future applications of EM to education is outlined.