THE QJF Research Centre for Computer Aided Learning

Visual understanding in designing the explanatory processes of the educational software

 

In the new age of the information technology there is a need to find new methods of educational software design. In educational software, where visualization plays a key role, there is a need to pay more attention to the development of the visual thinking capabilities of the students. Learning abilities are part of the cognitive capabilities of the student and good knowledge of the processes connected with learning is needed to design ‘good’ educational software. The visual system that is able to perform visual reasoning and visual inference provides the knowledge about learning of the visual information. This project is continuation of the research in designing the educational software that started in Poland in 1985. The investigations of the capabilities of the educational software to explain the arithmetical operation (software “wielomian”) lead to application of the Mathematica in designing the explanatory expert. The methods of visualisation of mathematical (scientific) concepts will be further elaborated in this research. The explanatory expert is designed in the context of earlier proposed method of the System of Integrated Packages.

Visual explanation plays a key role in the process of learning and understanding and it is exemplified by the System of Integrated Packages (SIP). The System of Integrated Packages uses COM/DCOM technologies to automatize the collaboration of the existing software packages such as Excel with the Explanatory Expert. The Explanatory Expert is part of the System of Integrated Packages where visualization is regarded at two levels, data visualization and concept visualization. Example of concept visualization is shown below. In the present research the Explanatory Expert is applied to explain the statistical concepts.

 

          

Schema of the System of Integrated Packages b. Example of application of the COM technologies to automatize the collaboration of the SIP packages with Excel

 

              

 

Example of the concept visualization a. cumulative distribution b. regression analysis

                

 

Schema of the Expert (part of the SUS) that communicates with MathKernel via MathLink.

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