Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Modeling Environments

  • Astrid Wichmann
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_56-4

Main Text

Modeling environments are computational tools that support learners in building dynamic or static models that represent phenomena such as plant growth, the solar system, or crowd behavior. In the context of a well-designed curricular activity, the learner creates the model by specifying objects, their characteristics (i.e., variables), and their relationships. Relationships can be specified in different ways depending on the learning environment. Modeling tools such as concept maps or causal loop diagrams allow the learner to specify relationships qualitatively. In concept maps, relationships can be specified by describing the nature of the relationship (e.g., “is a”). In causal loop diagrams, relationships are specified by polarities (i.e., “+” and “−”) and include feedback loops describing how one variable causes a change of another variable, which then causes a change of the original variable. Some modeling environments allow learners to not only specify relationships but...


Learning Environment Modeling Language Modeling Environment Inquiry Cycle Crowd Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Forrester J (1961) Industrial dynamics. Productivity Press, PortlandGoogle Scholar
  2. Krajcik JS, Blumenfeld PC (2006) Project-based learning. In: Sawyer RK (ed) Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 317–333Google Scholar
  3. Slotta JD, Linn MC (2009) WISE science: inquiry and the internet in the science classroom. Teachers College Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Steed M (1992) Stella, a simulation construction kit: cognitive process and educational implications. J Comput Math Sci Teach 11:39–52Google Scholar
  5. van Joolingen WR, de Jong T, Lazonder AW, Savelsbergh E, Manlove S (2005) Co-lab: research and development of an online learning environment for collaborative scientific discovery learning. Comput Hum Behav 21:671–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Wichmann
    • 1
  1. 1.EducationRuhr University BochumBochumGermany