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External and internal Perspectives on Learning Object: Emergent Knowledge for Teachers Professionalization
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering.
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract

The purpose is to investigate how teachers are using the subject content in order to develop students understanding of the learning object and their capabilities according to the curricula. The theoretical and the conceptual frame of the studies is the phenomenographic research approach and the variation theory, a learning theory. The variation theory is a general theory about the specific content. On the one hand the analytical tools of the variation theory are possible to use in the analysis of the teachers way of working with the learning object. On the other hand, the theory sets out to uncover the different ways in which students experiences the learning object (Marton and Booth, 1997; Marton and Tsui, 2004; Lo et al., 2005, Rovio-Johansson, A. and Lumsden, M., 2007). Two examples from different studies are used to illustrate (1) the teachers way of moulding a learning object in teaching technology in compulsory school and (2) students understanding of the learning object identified in a problem solving process in an examination in Management accounting during their second semester at higher education.

In the first example empirical data are collected from five teachers teaching technology at Swedish junior high schools, pupils aged 13-15 (Bjurulf, 2008). Variation theory was applied as a tool in the analysis of the data from the classroom observations, i.e. the teachers ways of working with the subject matter. The analysis indicated that the most frequently used pattern of variation was contrast. Through the contrast-pattern the teachers managed to contrast better or worse alternatives of construction and the use artefacts. It can be argued that this contrast-pattern of variation is the proper pattern when pupils are working with limited or expensive material. Results also indicated that technology as a school subject was taught in different ways depending on the teachers educational background, the physical learning environment and the size of the school class.

In the second example, empirical data are collected from a sample of students taking part in a Swedish three year undergraduate programme in Business, during their second semester (Rovio-Johansson and Johansson, 2006). The study uses the theoretical framework of variation theory and focuses on the students understandings of a basic concept in Management accounting during students second semester. Drawing on extensive interview material of semi-structured interviews and students┬┤ solutions of a specific examination problem, the analysis revealed three qualitatively different categories illustrating in which ways the students understood the concept return on investment. The learning object and its critical aspects were identified as qualitative categories of descriptions, hierarchically organised.

The empirically grounded didactic knowledge indicates that educationally critical aspects of the learning object, observed by the researcher or experienced by the students, may aid educators and teachers how to reorganize curricula, courses and teaching in order to enhance the quality of learning and teaching opportunities offered the students. Implications of the findings are promoted as means to accomplish further investigations of teachers ways of using the subject matter and students understanding of the learning object in subject matter areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-11128OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-11128DiVA, id: diva2:494695
Conference
NOFA2 13-15 maj 2009, Middelfart, Danmark
Available from: 2012-02-08 Created: 2012-02-08 Last updated: 2013-06-12Bibliographically approved

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