Dimensional Analysis by Percy Williams Bridgman

By Percy Williams Bridgman

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For example, the telephone exchange and the digital computer have provided explanatory models of the mind (see Gregory, 1987). In a real sense, a model brings a theory to the phenomenon under study (Anderson, 1983, pp. 12–13). In instructional technology, Hannafin and Hooper (1989) constructed a model to support the design of computer-based instruction. In essence, it focuses the designer’s thoughts on retrieval, orientation, presentation, encoding, sequencing and context. Underpinning this with a taxonomy that relates the concepts makes a theoretical framework with practical application.

Lists, inventories, groups, taxonomies and frameworks Maps, charts and diagrams Various other terms have been used, sometimes loosely or metaphorically, to denote the fabric of a domain or field. For instance, a map can indicate relationships between categories by depicting a connection with a line. The strength of the connection may also be indicated by proximity or line density. Hence, various thinking skills may be depicted on paper and arranged so that they form clusters of related items. A map is a term applied to a wide range of depictions, pictorial and verbal, that may or may not constitute a taxonomy.

Ashman and Conway (1997) conclude that thinking skills programmes typically involve six related types of thinking: • • • • • • metacognition critical thinking creative thinking cognitive processes (such as problem-solving and decision-making) core thinking skills (such as representation and summarising) understanding the role of content knowledge. For the purposes of this book we have conceptualised ‘thinking skills approaches’ as courses or organised activities which identify for learners translatable mental processes and/or which require learners to plan, describe and evaluate their thinking and learning.

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