It is widely assumed that mental models are internal representations. Humans are capable of constructing these models when required by demands of an external task or by a self-generated stimulus. “Mind’s eye” can see, run, and interact with these mental models. Rather than stored in strictly fixed form in the mind, mental models are constructed on the spot when needed. Repeated application leads to refinement of a mental model and possible automation of its construction and use processes in one’s cognitive practice.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mental Model: Internal representations constructed on the spot when required by demands of an external task or by a self-generated stimulus. It enables activation of relevant schemata, and allows new knowledge to be integrated. It specifies causal actions among concepts that take place within it, and it can be interacted with in the mind.
Learning Object: A representation designed to afford use in different educational contexts.
Schema: Organized structure consisting of concepts and their relationship
Concept: The basic element of thought and a mental representation of a category of some entities or phenomenon that forms the basis for meaning making and communication
Conceptual Model: A particular kind of learning object design to be supplied to learners to support their mental modeling.