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Visiting lecture: Professor Erica de Vries,
"Learning and training with visualizations: a thought experiment"


Thu 26 April 2012, at 16:00
Tietotekniikan talo, Konemiehentie 2, Hall T2


The use of modeling, simulation and visualisation techniques in scientific and technical domains has lead to the co-existence of a variety of graphical formalisms, representational formats, etc. In this seminar, I propose an inquiry into the following thought experiment : Imagine the user of the future equipped with a collection of interactive environments for work and training. This user reads, browses, links, models, simulates, and discusses, by swift insightful interpretation and construction of external representations, such as texts, pictures, graphs, and diagrams. This user also recognizes meaningful inscriptions, symbols, letters, graphics and squiggles, from inscriptions that just make the interface attractive. Finally, the user knows, by the special look and feel of each interface, when to take inscriptions literally, figuratively, or diagrammatically. The question then is: how is this done? I propose to reflect on this issue through a theoretical inquiry into the role of convention. More specifically, we will formulate and discuss two opposing viewpoints, i.e. that multiple conventions are beneficial, or on the contrary, detrimental to performance.

Short Bio

Erica de Vries graduated in Cognitive Psychology at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands in 1989. From 1990 until 1994, she held a research fellowship position at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. In 1994, she completed her doctoral dissertation entitled "Structuring information for design problem solving". From 1994 to 1997, she worked at COAST (Communication and Learning of Scientific and Technical Knowledge), a research team within the CNRS-University of Lyon Lumiere, France, first as a visiting researcher within the CNRS Poste Rouge scheme, and second on a Training and Mobility of Researchers (Marie Curie) grant from the European Community. From September 1997, she works at the laboratory of Educational Sciences of the Pierre-Mendes-France University of Grenoble, France, first as an assistant professor, and as of 2009 as a full professor in Educational Science. Her research interests include training in technical domains, learning and problem solving with external representations, and cognitive and semiotic aspects of the use of visualisation techniques for work, training and learning. She has created a double master in international cognitive visualization in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schnotz from the university of Koblenz-Landau Germany) and Prof. Dr. Neil Schwartz of the California State University at Chico. The first cohort started in September 2011.

Contact information

Erica de Vries
Laboratory of Educational Sciences, University of Grenoble II, France

Professor Erica de Vries acts as opponent in Mikko Berg's dissertation defense on Fri 28 April at 12 noon, in TUAS building, Hall AS1. Read more...