Computer Simulations for Supporting Collaborative Scientific Modeling Based on Socially Shared Regulation: Metacognitive Scaffoldings and Modeling Activity Design(2/3)

Project Details


Computer simulations have been used as a vital cognitive tool in supporting scientific modeling learning, because they allow students to explore scientific concepts or construct scientific models by interacting with simulations. As students do not generally understand how to exploit the simulation to achieve their science learning goals, scaffoldings that guide students to take appropriate actions to use the simulations become critical when students engage in the modeling-based learning with computer simulations. However, over-scripting scaffoldings in using computer simulations, which often occur when guidance is given to students with stepwise instructions, hinder the opportunities and space for students’ to participate in self-regulated learning to develop scientific modeling skills, especially for the development of meta-level understanding of scientific modeling. Furthermore, the literature of scientific modeling mainly focuses on the analysis of students’ modeling outcomes, paying less attentions on the process how students obtain a science model, and thus is not able to obtain a prescriptive guidance to implement scientific modeling activities with computer simulations.This project proposes to apply socially shared regulation learning as a framework to design computer-supported modeling environment to address the two issues,. Such a framework emphasizes the following principle:(1) “Modeling map” as a metacognitive tool to externalize student’s modeling process aiming to assist learners to plan, monitor, and revise their modeling process and strengthen their meta-level scientific modeling skills.(2) Collaborative modeling map engages students in collaborative scientific modeling activities and support them to jointly plan, monitor, revise, and discuss scientific modeling process in order to enhance socially shared regulated learning.(3) The integration of multiple learning analysis techniques including activity analysis, conversation analysis, and content analysis to clarify the relation between activity patterns, social processes and the scientific modeling results. This study will design a collaborative modeling map based on the principles of socially shared regulation learning. In the first year, this project will explore how students engage in scientific modeling activity using the modeling map as metacognitive tool. In the second year, this project will investigate the impact of scientific modeling activity guided by a sequential scaffolding and that guided by the modeling map on students' scientific modeling activity. In the third year, this project will explore the impact of different formats of collaborative scientific modeling activities on the use of modeling map in scientific modeling activities. The implications and suggestions for implementing scientific modeling activities will be obtained based on our findings.
Effective start/end date1/08/1931/07/20

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Computer simulations
  • scientific modeling
  • socially shared regulation
  • collaborative learning
  • metacognition


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