Theoretical Models of the Role of Visualisation in Learning Formal Reasoning

Martin Oliver, James C. Aczel


Abstract: Although
there is empirical evidence that visualisation tools can help students to learn formal subjects such as logic, and although particular strategies and conceptual difficulties have been identified, it has so far proved difficult to provide a general model of learning in this context that accounts for these findings in a systematic way. In this paper, four attempts at explaining the relative difficulty of formal concepts and the role of visualisation in this learning process are presented. These explanations draw on several existing
theories, including Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development, Green's Cognitive Dimensions, the Popper-Campbell model of conjectural learning, and cognitive complexity.

The paper concludes with a comparison of the utility and applicability of the different models. It is also accompanied by a reflexive commentary[0]
(linked to this paper as a hypertext) that examines the ways in which theory
has been used within these arguments, and which attempts to relate these uses
to the wider context of learning technology research.

Editors: Simon Buckingham Shum (Open U.)

Reviewers: Simon Buckingham Shum (Open U.)

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How to cite: Oliver, M.. and Aczel, J.C. 2002. Theoretical Models of the Role of Visualisation in Learning Formal Reasoning. Journal of Interactive Media in Education 2002(2):3, DOI:

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This article has been peer reviewed (journal peer review policy).

Published on 25 July 2002.

ISSN: 1365-893X | Published by Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.