Practical Solutions for the Diagnosis of Progressing Mental Models

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The question of how to diagnose the learning-dependent progression of mental models has been discussed extensively over the last 20 years. However, many questions about the diagnosis of changes in mental model construction still remain unsolved. This chapter begins with a critical analysis of assessment techniques in order to illustrate a variety of methods for assessing changing external ized knowledge structures such as mental models. However, in addition to choosing an adequate assessment technique for the diagnosis of changing models it is also necessary to define a satisfactory statistical procedure for the measurement of change. The chapter thus continues with a historical synopsis of measurement of change which illustrates the general statistical concerns involved in quantitative studies over time. The dilemma of how to measure progressing mental models adds even more complexity to the ambitious project of diagnosing progressing models. Therefore, the chapter closes by presenting eight empirically tested methodological solutions for further investigation of the progression of mental models.