Designing and evaluating representations to model pedagogy

Elizabeth Masterman, Brock Craft


This article presents the case for a theory-informed approach to designing and evaluating representations for implementation in digital tools to support Learning Design, using the framework of epistemic efficacy as an example. This framework, which is rooted in the literature of cognitive psychology, is operationalised through dimensions of fit that attend to: (1) the underlying ontology of the domain, (2) the purpose of the task that the representation is intended to facilitate, (3) how best to support the cognitive processes of the users of the representations, (4) users’ differing needs and preferences, and (5) the tool and environment in which the representations are constructed and manipulated.

Through showing how epistemic efficacy can be applied to the design and evaluation of representations, the article presents the Learning Designer, a constructionist microworld in which teachers can both assemble their learning designs and model their pedagogy in terms of students’ potential learning experience. Although the activity of modelling may add to the cognitive task of design, the article suggests that the insights thereby gained can additionally help a lecturer who wishes to reuse a particular learning design to make informed decisions about its value to their practice.

Keywords: representations; epistemic efficacy; Learning Design; evaluation

(Published: 16 September 2013)

Citation: Research in Learning Technology Supplement 2013, 21: 20205 -


learningDesign; representations; evaluation; softwareDesign

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