Work Models

  1. Flow Model
  2. Sequence Model
  3. Artifact Model
  4. Cultural Model
  5. Physical Model
  6. Metaphors


  1. Design Problem
  2. Literature Review
  3. Work Models
  4. Design Patterns
  5. Design Experiments
  6. Lesson Ideas
  7. Montessori Computes
  8. Thinking About Circles

Related Links

Patterns and Design


Hesitations and Errors

According to Beyer and Holtzblatt, "hesitations and errors indicate places where the customers' understanding of work is being contradicted by the tools they are using."  (Beyer & Holtzblatt, 1998, p. 100).  In typical work practice, this a bad thing.  Tools should help people work smoothly without hesitations or errors so that work can be completed efficiently to produce a high quality product.

But learning requires hesitations and errors.  The child learns when she goes from a state of not understanding something to a state of understanding it.  So, for the child to learn from some material (Montessori material, textual material, software, or other learning material):

  • The material must initially confront her with something she does not understand.  If the material makes perfect sense from the start, there is nothing to be learned from it.
  • There must be distinct problem and resolution states that the child can identify as such.  Otherwise, the child would have no way of knowing if understanding was achieved.
  • There must be some kind of support for the child to move from the problem state to the resolution state.  If support were not needed, the child would already understand the problem, so no learning could occur.
  • The support must allow alternative moves from problem state to resolution, some of which achieve resolution, and some of which do not.  If all moves are forced, there is no need to "figure out" a path from the problem state to the resolution, no need to think, and no need to learn.

Notice that these requirements hold for any learning material, not just Montessori material.  Montessori's particular way of meeting these requirements is the subject of the rest of this study.