Conceptual Model Learning Objects and Design Recommendations for Small Screens

By Churchill, Daniel | Educational Technology & Society, January 2011 | Go to article overview

Conceptual Model Learning Objects and Design Recommendations for Small Screens


Churchill, Daniel, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

A conceptual model is a particular kind of a learning object (see Churchill, 2007). It is an interactive and visual representation designed to depict a concept or a number of connected concepts, and support conceptual learning through multimedia and processes of manipulation and interrogation of represented properties and relationships. Emerging handheld technologies (portable digital assistants and some mobile phones) are equipped with multimedia capabilities that enable delivery of conceptual models. If appropriately designed for the context of use, conceptual models can be effectively delivered to a variety of learning environments via this technology.

This article presents recommendations on three aspects of conceptual model design for applications via handheld technology: presentation of conceptual models, small screen design, and design in relation to specific learning uses. These recommendations were developed over a number of years of experience designing conceptual models and applications of these multimedia representations with students in schools and higher education. The paper lists and expands on these recommendations, and provides brief background information on how these were explicated. The paper also attempts to substantiate the presented arguments through reference to an example of a conceptual model. However, readers should not expect detailed descriptions of data collection and analysis in this paper. Detailed reports on a study of various sets of recommendations have been presented elsewhere (e.g., Churchill & Hedberg, 2008b). Overall, the paper provides information that could be useful to designers of multimedia resources and professionals engaged in instructional uses of these representations, and calls for researchers to pay more attention to design as it relates to instructional uses of conceptual models.

A simple example of a conceptual model is presented in Figure 1. This conceptual model displays a concept of a triangle and its associated properties and relationships. It allows students to manipulate the base and height of the triangle by dragging corresponding sliders. Manipulating either of the two parameters of the triangle (base or height) by dragging the sliders will result in an immediate update of the display: the triangle will be redrawn in a corresponding size, and the numerical information regarding associated parameters (such as the value of the hypotenuse) will be updated. This conceptual model can be reused for different purposes and with different groups of students. For example, lower grade students could use it to explore the properties of a right-angled triangle, while more senior students might explore properties such as Pythagorean theorems and basic trigonometric functions (sine and cosine).

The current literature lacks specific recommendations for the design of conceptual models for applications via small screens of handheld technology. This paper introduces a set of recommendations for such design. These recommendations integrate three sets of independently developed guidelines: (a) design for presentation, (b) design for small screen and (c) design for learning uses. The recommendations reported in the article will contribute to the literature, and are useful to designers of educational multimedia, teachers involved in uses of conceptual models in instruction, and researchers interested in the effect of design possibilities on multimedia learning.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The rest of the article is organized into three main sections. The first provides theoretical background relevant to idea of a conceptual model and its application. The next section presents various design recommendations. Finally, there is discussion of a conceptual model designed in line with these recommendations.

Key Concepts and Issues

The idea of concept has been the subject of a philosophical debate and has influenced the work of well-known figures such as Kant, Vygotsky, Piaget, and others interested in understanding forms of knowledge and how these develop in individuals (see Berger, 2005, Hartnack, 1968, Turner, 1975). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Conceptual Model Learning Objects and Design Recommendations for Small Screens
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.