Quantum mechanics (QM) was prominently featured in the Dutch national physics examination for upper secondary school level in 2016 for the first time. It appears that many students have struggled to learn this new subject and had problems answering the associated examination questions. From the literature it is known that QM is difficult to understand, and to visualize in everyday settings. This is likely to hinder students' development of a conceptual understanding of QM. In this proposal we apply the perspective of Conceptual Field Theory to the learning of QM, to develop a deeper understanding of problems that arise in its learning processes. Conceptual Field Theory is a theory that emphasizes action to develop students' concepts, and the action is set in task-based situations presented to students. We argue that the main problem associated with learning QM is that it is difficult for students to come to meaningful representations appropriate for learning QM. Without meaningful representations it is hard to formulate correct propositions that help to handle and analyze presented task-based situations. In this proposal we describe why it is difficult to come to meaningful representations in QM and we suggest how research into learning and teaching QM could proceed.
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2017|
|Event||ESERA 2017 Conference Dublin City University - Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland|
Duration: 21 Aug 2017 → 25 Aug 2017
|Conference||ESERA 2017 Conference Dublin City University|
|Period||21/08/17 → 25/08/17|
Bouchée, T., de Putter - Smits, L., Thurlings, M., & Pepin, B. (2017). Analyzing development of student knowledge in quantum mechanics using conceptual field theory. Paper presented at ESERA 2017 Conference Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.