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090 - Learning about and through Empirical Modelling

Abstract

Empirical Modelling is a body of principles and tools that has been developed for the construction of interactive environments. Our previous research has indicated respects in which Empirical Modelling is intimately linked with learning activity of many different varieties. In this paper, we recount informal evidence in support of this claim that can be drawn from the assessment exercise attached to the 'Introduction to Empirical Modelling' module offered in Computer Science at the University of Warwick. This assessment takes the form of an open-ended modelling and paper-writing exercise. Such an exercise is shown to be effective for learning about Empirical Modelling. It also promotes self-motivated exploration in unknown domains that is one of the key skills for life-long learning. The extent to which students not only learnt about Empirical Modelling, but also about the domain which they chose to model was unexpected. This leads us to suggest that Empirical Modelling could be effective in facilitating learning in other domains.

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