Using the Resources Framework to Model and Understand Knowledge

One of the most fundamental things about watching people learn (and helping them in the classroom) is that people have fragmented understanding of the world around them. Researchers have modeled this in terms of a Knowledge-in-Pieces (KiP) model, simply accepting the way things are as a basis for building models of knowledge and learning. I use the Resources Framework, a knowledge in pieces model that is more about teaching and learning than it is about models of knowledge. Using this, I’ve written about student understanding of waves, the use of mathematical procedures in physics, and middle school teacher knowledge of energy, plus a bunch of other topics. What I like about the Resources Framework is that it promotes the role of intuition, and values the insights that people bring to their learning. It is explicitly constructivist, and there are ways of describing how complex idea are formed from simpler ideas. And, as I have new questions, I can explore things like conceptual blending, gesture analysis, or mechanistic reasoning to look at more complex issues in learning, as well. It’s the theoretical framework that I keep coming back to, because it’s been so powerful in so many situations.

For more about research in this area, contact Michael Wittmann.