Welcome to Mental Modeling: A Tool for Adult Learning.
During this presentation you will learn concepts of mental modeling through presentations and collaboration. You will then be invited to create your own mental model related to a topic of interest to you. The application of adult learning theories will help you in the process of learning, testing and applying the concepts.
The ways in which adult learning theory will be applied include: Collaborating to help you construct your own understanding of the concepts Recognizing similarities and differences and applying critical thinking to discover and enrich your understanding And, identifying a way to apply the learning so you can take the learning with you
To introduce you to the idea of mental modeling, consider a two-hour movie and the streaming scroll of credits at the end recognizing the contributions of numerous people that worked on the film. Before that vast production begins, the use of a high-concept or brief compelling description creates a mental model of what the full length production will be.
A mental model for creative work is demonstrated in an outline of the creative steps which include beginning with the high concept and brainstorming. Then a script is drafted followed by a storyboard for a more detailed view of the evolving production. An animatic provides a way to see camera moves and to begin to hear sounds of the production before the final animation or production takes place. A link is provided to see a visual demonstration of the mental model for the creative process. http://johnolaughlin.com/classtools/workflow.swf
Mental Modeling is a way to take something complex and make it simple to understand. The model itself serves to help the learner understand and explain a complex system and it paves the way for using the model to construct a complex system.
Mental models can best be used by having a clear notion of what must be learned. This purposeful approach will focus attention on how the model can be used as a framework for answering unanticipated questions or how it can help predict consequences. By isolating the functions in the model, each component can be evaluated on its own to identify effectiveness.
Here’s an example of how a Xerox used mental modeling to address their process for fixing copiers. The original process for training technicians was expensive and included flying them to a training center and then producing manuals for each tech to take out into the field.
When they studied how the technicians really worked on the machines, they discovered that the technicians used a process of walking around the machine to describe the problems and then they would relay the story about the current machine to other technicians to compare notes. Following the breakthrough in understanding about how the technicians used descriptive stories about each machine to search out answers from each other, Xerox updated it’s technical training from a model of training centers and manuals to a model with communication devices and contacts so they could share tech stories for fixing the copiers.
Identifying similarities and differences in new concepts helps to increase understanding. To help you apply this to your understanding of mental modeling, we’re going to look at some related concepts.
Extreme programming is used to accelerate the delivery of computer software to market. Rather than wait for the launch of the whole complex and complete program, a simpler model is created. This approach includes identifying key functions or architectural spikes. By narrowing down and focusing on the most important function first, the programming code can be developed in a short period of time for release, testing and acceptance. Once that function is working, the program can be made available with a strategy of small releases while the code is refined to increase efficiency. Once the code is optimized the next function is added using the same approach to model the success and to make it available.
Mind mapping is a visual flow chart to organize concepts or modules of content.
Rapid prototyping is the technique of creating a smaller scale working model of a larger project. This allows for testing out the functions before incurring the costs to produce the real scale item.
Now that we’ve explored mental models, let’s focus on ways you can work with the concepts in a learning activity that you can do on your own or collaborate with others. This will help you retain the learning while you apply it to an area of interest in your life.
To prepare you for working with the mind mapping software in which you will create your mental model, I’ll first demonstrate the techniques by creating a mental model for an example topic of making milkshakes.
Now it is your turn to create a mental model. Visit the website listed at bubbl.us to create a mind map of your mental model. The supplied username and password will allow you to access and model the work done by others and it will allow you to add your work to the growing list of mental models.
Once you have had the opportunity explore mental modeling and to create a mind map of a topic of interest to you, it’s time to reflect on your experience. Think about how you can use mental models to simplify complex challenges in your life. Consider the importance of narrowing the scope of each function in a mental model so that each function can be evaluated independently of the larger process. Consider how Xerox changed it’s training model to a more effective and cost efficient process based on researching the way the technicians fixed copiers. As you continue to synthesize your thoughts about mental models, consider the similarities and differences to other concepts such as Extreme programming, mind mapping and rapid prototyping. Questions and dialogue regarding this presentation are hosted on the mental modeling blog.
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to learn about mental modeling, please provide some feedback on your experience by clicking on the survey link.
Here are references to the resources for mental modeling and the applied adult learning theories shared in the presentation.
John O’Laughlin is a training and development specialist and instructor earning a doctorate in higher education and adult learning with a focus on technology and teaching.
Mental Modeling: A Tool for Adult Learning <ul><li>John O’Laughlin </li></ul><ul><li>EDUC-8101-6 How Adults Learn: </li></ul><ul><li>Theory and Research </li></ul>
Learn concepts of mental modeling Collaborate to test learning Apply concepts of mental modeling Use adult learning theory to learn, test and apply Objectives
<ul><li>Adult learning theory will be applied during the mental modeling presentation by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborating to construct understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognizing similarities and differences to related theories and concepts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using critical thinking to reflect and expand on the learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identifying a way to apply the learning </li></ul></ul>Applied Use of Adult Learning Theory
Mental Modeling: Introduction <ul><li>What you can learn in :30 seconds about a two-hour movie </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A Hollywood high-concept is a brief compelling description of a complex production </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>From that simple model or concept, comes a series of steps that contribute to creating the whole production </li></ul></ul></ul>
Mental Modeling: Introduction <ul><li>A mental model for creative work </li></ul><ul><li>http://johnolaughlin.com/classtools/workflow.swf </li></ul>
Complex made simple (DeKleer & Brown, 1981) Understanding what it means to understand a complex system Discovering principles that help the learner construct a complex system What is Mental Modeling?
Having a clear notion of what must be learned and exploring inter-related purposes (DeKleer & Brown, 1981) Using the process of creating a model as a framework to learn how to answer unanticipated questions or to predict consequences Isolating functions in the model so they are independent of the overall systems for context-free evaluation What is Mental Modeling?
Xerox evaluated and updated their training process based on evaluating an inefficient and expensive model. A Mental Modeling Example
Storytelling as a Mental Model (Brown, 2001) Xerox technicians used collaboration and storytelling to gain an understanding of the machine and processes to fix it The use of communication devices replaced manuals of instruction to empower learning A Mental Modeling Example
Comprehension Helping students link, connect and integrate ideas increases understanding of the subject matter (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollack, 2001) Similarities and Differences
<ul><li>Extreme Programming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Isolating functions required for the program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing the most important function first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refining the code to increase efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adding new functions based on priority </li></ul></ul>Similar Theories and Concepts Architectural Spike Release Planning Iteration Acceptance Tests Small Releases
<ul><li>Mind Mapping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing flow charts of complex ideas </li></ul></ul>Similar Theories and Concepts
Similar Theories and Concepts <ul><li>Rapid Prototyping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a simplified version of a project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Testing out functions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applying success to the real project </li></ul></ul>
Collaborating with Mental Modeling Shifting from learning content to learning activities (Brown & Adler, 2008) Teaching others is one of the best ways to retain learning (Dale, 1969) Adult learner motivations include using life experiences and applying the learning (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 1998, p. 64 - 69)
Applying the Concepts of Mental Modeling How to use mind mapping software to create a mental model http://screenr.com/NYh
Applying the Concepts of Mental Modeling Create a mental model of a process related to a field of interest to you http://bubbl.us username: learning_guest password: contribute
Conclusion: Reflection and Learning Critical thinking is a process of questioning the content to gain new insight (Brookfield, 2005) Synopsis of the presentation and the learning experience Questions and dialogue http://mentalmodeling.blogspot.com/
Evaluations Click the link below to take a brief quantitative and qualitative survey regarding this presentation http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HB8W9QN
References Brookfield, S.D. (2005) The power of critical theory for adult learning and teaching, New York, NY: McGraw Hill, p. 1-38 Brown, J.S. (2001). Storytelling: Xerox: How copiers actually get repaired . Retrieved from http://www2.parc.com/ops/members/brown/storytelling/JSB8-Xerox-Eureka.html Brown, J.S., & Adler, R.P. (2008). Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail, and learning 2.0. Educause Review, 43(1), p. 16-32 Dale, E. (1946, 1954,1969). Audio-visual methods in teaching. New York, NY: Dryden. De Kleer, J., & Brown, J.S. (1981). Cognitive skills and their acquisition [p. 285-309]. (Google Books), Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=7oEtr1KvMbgC&pg=PA285&dq=mental+modeling+john+brown&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. G., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resources development . Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company. Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works . Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
About The Author John O’Laughlin is a training and development specialist and instructor earning a doctorate in higher education and adult learning with a focus on technology and teaching. (Ed.D., Walden University, 2012) http:// www.johnolaughlin.com