Differently Advanced Physics Learners' Conceptual Development
Process based detailed analyses of students' conceptual development are rarely found in actual research (in physics education). Because of time consuming gathering and analysing of data, such investigations often restrict to small cohorts of one age group. Data basis in this investigation contains of five laboratory studies and one field study with students of grade 8 and 11 as well as students after grade 13, physics students after their 4th semester in University and after their diploma. The conceptual development of these differently experienced learners has been analyzed and compared in the domain of Electrostatics and Electrodynamics.
Students were video-documented while working on experimental tasks in small groups of two or three students each. Additional data concerning interest, situated experiences (like enjoyment and interest), and concept mapping were also gathered and processes documented with video. Analyses of the video-data have been carried out with both a mixture of descriptions of cases and category based analysis of a larger range of data.
Main goal of the investigation is to describe extensively the parameters that determine the students' conceptual development
(e.g., the structure of the learning environment, the students' previous experiences in physics, the strategies students use,
and the students' situated experiences) within the (exemplarily) chosen topic of Electrostatics and Electrodynamics.
This research project was funded by the German Research Foundation (Number AU 155/3-1,2)