UNDERSTANDING DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY THROUGH LEARNER EXPECTATIONS OF AN UNDERGRADUATE PHYSICS LABORATORY PROGRAM

Gabriel Ha Nguyen, Manjula Sharma

Abstract


BACKGROUND

Education can be thought of as a system formalising cross-generational knowledge transfer, allowing learners to participate in society. ‘Folk knowledge’ acquired from their environment is added to by accumulated secondary knowledge (Geary, 2008).

Science as a discipline is informed by the nature of science. Teaching scientific inquiry must adapt to the learner’s prior development (Cornish et. al., 2019). At university, the learner starts transitioning into communities of practice (Vygotsky, 1978). This is captured and measured at the Australian level by the Science Learning Threshold Learning Outcomes (Jones, Yates & Kelder, 2001; Barrie et. al., 2015).

AIMS

The aim of the study is to understand learner’s expectations of the development of scientific inquiry skills in the transition between learning environments.

DESIGN AND METHODS

A newly developed survey instrument was delivered to first-year undergraduate physics students in 2015 and 2017, receiving 1493 responses. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis was conducted in IBM SPSS 24 and AMOS to generate factors corresponding to scientific inquiry.

RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS

Regardless of their prior development, learners start university with similar expectations of developing their understanding of science inquiry. This study informs the development of students as they integrate into the community of practice of science.

REFERENCES

Barrie, S., Bucat, R., Buntine, M., Burke Da Silva, K., Crisp, G., George, A., Jamie, I., Kable, S., Lim, K., Pyke, S., Read, J., Sharma, M., & Yeung, A. (2015). Development, Evaluation and Use of a Student Experience Survey in Undergraduate Science Laboratories: The Advancing Science by Enhancing Learning in the Laboratory Student Laboratory Learning Experience Survey. International Journal of Science Education, 37(11), 1795–1814. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2015.1052585
Cornish, S., Yeung, A., Kable, S. H., Orgill, M., & Sharma, M. D. (2019). Using teacher voices to develop the ASELL Schools professional development workshops. Teaching Science, 65(1), 4.
Geary, D. (2008). An Evolutionarily Informed Education Science. Educational Psychologist: Evolution of the Educated Species, 43(4), 179–195. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520802392133
Jones, S., Yates, B. & Kelder, J. A. (2001). Science Teaching and Learning Academic Statement. Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government. Retrieved from http://www.acds-tlcc.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2016/11/altc_standards_SCIENCE_240811_v3-1.pdf.
Vygotsky, L. (1978) Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Keywords


inquiry learning, assessment, expectations

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