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Syllabus for

Academic year
MVE380 - Models for understanding
Modeller för förståelse
Syllabus adopted 2021-02-12 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPLOL
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Main field of study: Technology and Learning

Teaching language: Swedish
Application code: 40112
Open for exchange students: No
Maximum participants: 35
Only students with the course round in the programme plan

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0111 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   31 May 2022 am J_DATA,  08 Oct 2021 pm J_DATA   25 Aug 2022 am J_DATA

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Philip Gerlee

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

The course MVE365 Problem solving and education or equivalent


The aim is to deepen the students understanding of scientific models in general and models in natural sciences and in the area of learning in particular. The goal is that the student, by studying models in two such diverse fields, will broaden and deepen the understanding of the concept of model. The student should attain knowledge about important models and approaches for modeling in learning and in natural science and technology. Since models play an important role when trying to understand the unknown, this course prepare the student for development, both in the technical / scientific work and in teaching.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After completing the course the student should be able to
  • describe the concept of scientific model and its various characteristics and properties
  • describe selected models of learning and their properties
  • use established models of learning for planning teaching, motivate pedagogical decisions based on them, and evaluate the outcomes
  • account for and be able to practice different modeling strategies and to critically assess and classify a given model
  • develop their own models in learning
  • develop, program and simulate their own models in natural science/technology
  • evaluate the established models and models created by fellow student


In the course, the concept of scientific models will be discussed and analyzed from different perspectives. ranging from an epistemological perspective to how the concept of the model is used in the various scientific disciplines. Taxonomies for different types of models, and what kinds of questions they could answer, will be addressed. Furthermore, we will specifically look at models in the field of learning. We will study established models both at a sociocultural- and cognitive level, but also at the neuron level. You will develop your own models for learning in a situation that interests you. Finally, we will study models in science and technology. You are given many opportunities to develop your own models and validate models created by others.


This course is about scientific models in general and about models in natural sciences and learning in particular. The latter two are dealt with in two specific paths, which we call learning models and NT models, each of which has its own textbook and its own progression. They connect to one another through the general theme of the course, scientific models. The course consists organizationally mainly of lectures, seminars, laboratory, several smaller modeling projects, and two slightly larger modeling projects, one in natural sciences / technology and on in learning.


  • Gerlee, P. och Lundh, T. (2012), Vetenskapliga modeller: svarta lådor, röda atomer och vita lögner, Studentlitteratur. 
  • Phillips, D.C. och Soltis J (2014) Perspektiv på lärande, Studentlitteratur AB
Additional literature is presented on the course website.

Examination including compulsory elements

Examination is done through active participation in seminars and trough implementation, reporting and discussion of the required projects and finally through a written exam.

The course examiner may assess individual students in other ways than what is stated above if there are special reasons for doing so, for example if a student has a decision from Chalmers on educational support due to disability.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.