Abstract—This paper describes part of a study about Learning-by-Modeling (LbM). Previous research indicates that involvement with modeling scientific phenomena and complex systems can play a powerful role in science learning. Some researchers argue with this view indicating that models and modeling do not contribute to understanding complexity concepts, since these increases the cognitive load on students. This study will investigate the effect of different modes of involvement in exploring scientific phenomena using computer agent modeling tools, on students’ understanding of complexity concepts. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to report about 121 freshmen students that engaged in participatory simulations about complex phenomena, showing emergent, self organized and decentralized patterns. Results show that LbM plays a major role in students' concept formation about complexity concepts.
Index Terms—Learning by modeling; Agent Based Modeling Complex systems; Mental models.
Kamel Hashem is with the Department of Learning Sciences, School of
Educational Sciences, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem, Palestine. (phone:
972-522-292996; fax: 972-262-86269; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Prof. David Mioduser is with the Department of Education in Math Science and Technology, School of Education, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. (e-mail: email@example.com).
Cite: Kamel Hashem and David Mioduser, "The Contribution of Agent Based Modeling to Students" Evolving Understanding of Complexity," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 538-542, 2012.