We need to build a system that helps users understand the interconnection among related variables. A concrete example (not ours - but analogous) is the relationship among Temperature, Pressure and Volume as defined by the Gas Laws.

We know subjectively that an interactive demo can help explain the concepts. For example: user decreases volume and sees temp / pressure increase.


  1. Are there any research papers/experience reports/proven patterns that provide useful guidance in this area? (For example: intuition says quick feedback is better than slow)
  2. Is there a well-accepted set of terminology in this space? I tried various search phrases (e.g. "feedback driven explanation", "interactive demonstration") but didn't find any significant results.


  • 3
    Look at "simulation" and "simulator fidelity" in training. There is quite a bit of research in this area that may be relevant to your question. – Tom Engh Jun 12 '15 at 11:11
  • @TomEngh thanks: those were useful search phrases. – sfinnie Jun 29 '15 at 9:07

I think your question is a little bit more complicated because there are many facets related to learning, and it depends on which aspects you are trying to address, plus the various factors that have different impact on learning (e.g. age, prior or related knowledge, comprehension, retention, etc).

So I think your interactive demo might address the situation when someone finds visual learning of concepts easier to comprehend the material, but whether this is also beneficial for retention of the facts and formulas is one consideration. Whether the user retains this information for long or short term periods is also another consideration.

I think a quick search on topics relating to learning, psychology, cognitive science in the multi-media space should yield some useful information (e.g. I found this paper). Some research into the more cutting edge work in e-learning would probably be helpful as well.

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