Developing Novel Explanatory Models For Electronics Education

Sarah Pulé, John McCardle
2010, Vol. 15, No. 2,


This paper explores how representations of technologicalconcepts may be designed to help students with visuallearning styles achieve successful comprehension in thefield of electronics. The work accepts a wide definition ofwhat is understood by the visualisation of a model in thatit can take different external forms, but also include aninternal representation in a person’s mind. We are of theopinion that to acquire scientific or technologicalknowledge there is a requirement for abstract models toexhibit particular features that complement the nature oftheir fields, and that their effectiveness is dependent onthe context in question. This work reports on thedevelopment of experimental materials which are novelteaching aids in the context of electronics education. Itproposes design principles based on congruent,schematised, symmetrical spatial metaphors of circuitsincorporating interactivity by the use of gesture,scaffolding, learning by topological, analogical andconceptual resemblances. We conclude that qualitativemethods may be employed with a significant measure ofsuccess even for a field such as electronics that is oftenconsidered to be difficult due to the necessity of abstractexplanations.


electronics, education, visualisation, models, abstraction,external representations

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