number of ways students name an activity in a process model

I am currently evaluating data of a modeling experiment conducted with a number of colleagues. In that experiment, students were given a textual description of the NFL drafting process (which NFL scouts use to pick future star players), and students had to come up with a graphical process model of that process. We had 113 students participating. Obviously, different students will create different models. We also expected students to name the activities in the process model differently. Yet, we found a variety of ways of naming an activity that strikes me.

One sentence in the process description was the following

Afterwards the scouting team attends games of the player they are interested in live in the football stadium.

For this particular activity, we received 84 different ways of naming it (see complete list at the end of this post) – in other words, 2/3 of the students derived a different formal concept from this sentence. I think these observations hint at what needs to improved in teaching modeling. And also shows where real-world problems are in aligning process models to formal or informal descriptions.

  1. attend football game
  2. attend football games
  3. attend game
  4. attend game in live
  5. attend game in stadium
  6. attend game of player interested in
  7. attend games
  8. attend games in live
  9. attend games in stadium
  10. attend games live in stadium
  11. attend games of certain player they have interest
  12. attend games of chosen player
  13. attend games of interested players
  14. attend games of interesting player
  15. attend games of interesting players
  16. attend games of interesting players in live
  17. attend games of of the player
  18. attend games of player
  19. attend games of player live
  20. attend games of player of interest
  21. attend games of player they are interested in
  22. attend games of player which are interesting
  23. attend games of players
  24. attend games of players in which they are interested
  25. attend games of players of interest
  26. attend games of players they are interested in live
  27. attend games of players they have interest
  28. attend games of selected players
  29. attend games of target player
  30. attend games of the interesting player
  31. attend games of the interesting player in live in the football stadium
  32. attend games of the interesting player in live in the stadium
  33. attend games of the player
  34. attend games of the player they are interested in
  35. attend games of the players they are intersed in
  36. attend gamess of interested player
  37. attend interested player games
  38. attend interesting games in live
  39. attend interesting games live
  40. attend live game of intersting players
  41. attend live games
  42. attend live games in football stadium
  43. attend live games in stadium
  44. attend live games of intersting player
  45. attend live match
  46. attend live-in games of the player
  47. attend matche
  48. attend matches with these players
  49. attend real game
  50. attend the live game of the player
  51. attend the stadium
  52. attend to games
  53. attend to nfl games
  54. attend_games
  55. attending football games
  56. attending game
  57. attending games
  58. attending games live
  59. attends game live
  60. attends games
  61. attends games of interested player
  62. attends games of interesting players
  63. attends games of player in which they are interested
  64. attends games of the player they are interested in
  65. attends live games
  66. attends player
  67. attends the games of interesting player
  68. atteng real game
  69. attent games
  70. attent games of player of interest
  71. attent games of player(s) of interest
  72. game attending
  73. judges player in football games
  74. scouting team attends games of the player they are interested in
  75. scouting team watches live in stadium
  76. the scouting team attends games of the player they are interested in live in the football stadium
  77. to attend games of the interesting player (in live)
  78. watch college football games
  79. watch game
  80. watch games in stadium
  81. watch games interesting players
  82. watch live
  83. watch player live
  84. watching games withs interesting players live

We saw only a handful variants because of spelling mistakes. The majority of the variants shows that students conceptualized or abstracted the activity of “attending a game” in very different ways

  • by taking more of the context into account: singular vs. plural player, to include context knowledge that college players are drafted, to include context knowledge that it is a player of interest, and
  • by abstracting the words given in the text in their own words.

We saw similar variations on other activities and on other processes as well, though to a lesser extent. There is still a lot to understand about how people extract knowledge from texts.

Yet this small sample already hints that modeling courses at universities should not only teach the technical mastering of a modeling technique or tool. Teaching students to develop an understanding how to abstract information into the right concept (regardless of the technical notion), is equally important (or perhaps even more important).

Finally, this small sample shows that it requires a good deal of semantic matching and contextual information to automatically align a process model to another description of the process.

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One thought on “number of ways students name an activity in a process model

  1. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my
    4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
    ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

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