Challenged by a National Science Foundation–funded conference, 2020 Vision: The Next Generation of STEM Learning Research, in which participants were asked to recognize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning as lifelong, life-wide, and life-deep, we draw upon 20 years of research across the lifespan to propose a new way of thinking about and investigating the topic. We propose Fullness of Life (or Total Life) as the minimal unit of analysis that allows people generally and researchers specifically to make sense of cognition. This move reverses traditional perspectives: Rather than understanding life from the position of STEM activities, we understand STEM learning from the perspective of life taken as a whole. We propose three attendant concepts that do not focus on stable knowledge content but on (a) the ability to mobilize and augment knowledge (knowledgeability), (b) the necessity to develop the disposition of the débrouillard/e and bricoleur, and (c) the necessity to conceive knowledgeability as collective property, outcome of collective praxis. We conclude by commenting on five dimensions suggested as need requirements for implementing a 2020 vision for STEM learning research.
Roth, W-M., & Eijck, van, M. W. (2011). Fullness of life as minimal unit: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning across the life span. Science Education, 94(6), 1027-. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.20401