PhD defence: Fostering students’ meta-modelling knowledge regarding biological concept-process models

PhD defence of S. Jansen MSc

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Frequent transfer of scientific information in the form of models into society makes it important for citizens to understand the creation and use of models in science. Education can play an important role in fostering students’ knowledge about models, the creation of models and the use of models (i.e., meta-modelling knowledge). This dissertation discusses a possible way to support students’ meta-modelling knowledge. We specifically make use of a type of model that is often used to visualise biological processes: concept-process models. 

In five subsequent studies, we first evaluate the applicability of a framework that describes meta-modelling knowledge to biological concept-process models. Second, we develop and distribute a test to assess students’ meta-modelling knowledge. Third, we use Lesson Study as a research approach to develop a lesson that familiarises students with important aspects of meta-modelling knowledge. In this third study we also evaluate the use of Lesson Study as a research approach. Fourth, we develop two lessons to foster students’ visual literacy and engage students in modelling processes. Finally, we explore whether students are able to apply their gained meta-modelling knowledge to a three dimensional virtual environment.

This dissertation shows that the developed lessons foster students’ meta-modelling knowledge regarding biological concept-process models. Also, the use of Lesson Study as a research approach has shown to be a promising option for bridging the gap between theory-driven research and educational practice in this area. Furthermore, this dissertation offers recommendations for educational practitioners on how to support students’ meta-modelling knowledge.

Start date and time
End date and time
Location
Academiegebouw, Domplein 29 & online
PhD candidate
S. Jansen MSc
Dissertation
Fostering students’ meta-modelling knowledge regarding biological concept-process models
PhD supervisor(s)
prof. dr. W.R. Van Joolingen
Co-supervisor(s)
dr. M.C.P.J. Knippels
More information
Full text via Utrecht University Repository