Teaching and Learning Numerical Analysis and Optimization: A Didactic Framework and Applications of Inquiry-based Learning

  •  Pantelis Lappas    
  •  Manolis Kritikos    


The main objective of this paper is to propose a didactic framework for teaching Applied Mathematics in higher education. After describing the structure of the framework, several applications of inquiry-based learning in teaching numerical analysis and optimization are provided to illustrate the potential of the proposed framework. The framework is based on the Process of Scientific Inquiry (PoSI), while it consists of three pillars, each characterized by the use of a particular cognitive tool: Algorithm for presenting a list of steps to follow in order to solve a problem, CMAP software for constructing concept maps and MATLAB software for computer programming. In addition to this, a WebQuest Scenario can be used as an “auxiliary” cognitive tool by providing students with the opportunity to combine technology (e.g., MATLAB and CMAP software) with educational concepts (e.g., optimization), and to incorporate inquiry-based learning (i.e., PoSI). Introducing these cognitive tools to the design of the proposed didactic framework provides considerable potential of knowledge consolidation with reference to solving complex numerical problems using efficient algorithms.

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