Investigation of the relationship between conceptual understanding and quantitative problem-solving in optics

Walsh, L. and Howard, R. G. and Harvey, J. and Bowe, B. (2005) Investigation of the relationship between conceptual understanding and quantitative problem-solving in optics. [Conference Proceedings]

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This study outlines ongoing research within the area of physics education, namely the investigation of the relationship between conceptual understanding and quantitative problem-solving. Industry, society and research need graduates to be excellent problem solvers with an ability to conceptualise and transfer their understanding and knowledge. However recent research has shown that physics students are not developing the conceptual understanding necessary to become adept problem-solvers. Physics education tends to rely on the assumption that students will develop an understanding of the conceptual nature of physics by solving quantitative problems. Research has shown that this is not the case and students cannot develop as problem-solvers without first having the conceptual understanding. Many of these physics graduates go on to work in optics, in areas such as nanotechnology, photonics fabrication and optical sensing. This research involves an investigation of student learning in physics and the impact this has on conceptual understanding and their ability to solve quantitative and qualitative problems. It builds on research carried out in the United States in order to obtain a better understanding of how students learn physics and the difficulties they have developing an understanding of the conceptual nature of physics. It aims to develop a systematic way of identifying students' misconceptions in physics and to assess the affect these have on student learning and the development of understanding. This research will inform teaching and assessment practices, not only in physics education but also in other disciplines so that third level education can produce better problem-solvers for industry, research and a knowledge-based society.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Additional Information: Conference code: 66020; Export Date: 23 February 2015; CODEN: PSISD; Correspondence Address: Walsh, L.; Physics Education Research Group, FOCAS Institute, Dublin Institute of Technology, Kevin St., Dublin 8, Ireland; email:; References: Van Heuvelen, (1991) Am J. Phys, 59, pp. 891-897; Hake, R.R., (1998) Am J. Phys., 66, pp. 64-74; Knight, R.D., (2002) An Instructor's Guide to Introductory Physics, , Addison Wesley, San Francisco; (2002) Report of the Task Force on the Physical Sciences, , Report and Recommendations, Irish Government Publications; Wagner, D., Literacy and development: Rationales, myths, innovations and future directions (1995) International Journal of Educational Development, 15 (4). , Oxford, Pergamon; Institute of physics (IOP) report on the inquiry into undergraduate teaching (2002) Physics: Building a Flourishing Future, , London, IOP Publishing Ltd; Bowe, B., Fitzmaurice, M., (2004) Guide to Writing Learning Outcomes; Roth, K.J., Developing meaningful conceptual understanding in science (1990) Dimensions of Thinking and Cognitive Instruction, , Jones, B. F.; Idol, L. (eds), Laurence Errlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ; Halloun, I.A., Hestenes, D., (1985) Am. J. Phys., 53, pp. 1043-1055; McDermott, L.C., (1991) Am. J. Phys., 59, pp. 301-315; Ambrose, B.S., Shaffer, P.S., Steinberg, R.N., McDermott, L., (1999) Am. J. Phys., 67, pp. 146-155; Ambrose, B.S., Heron, P.R., Vokos, S., McDermott, L., (1999) Am. J. Phys., 67, pp. 891-898; Crotty, M., (1998) The Foundations of Social Research, pp. 29-41. , Sage, London; Trochim, W., (1999) The Research Methods Knowledge Base, 2nd Edition, , Cornell Custom Publishing, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Cohen, L., Manion, L., Morrison, K., (2000) Research Methods in Education, pp. 137-152. , 5th Edition, RoutledgeFalmer, London; Reif, F., Heller, J.I., (1982) Education Psychologist, 17, pp. 102-127; Goldberg, F., McDermott, L., (1987) Am. J. Phys., 55, pp. 108-119; Hestenes, D., Wells, M., Swackhamer, G., (1992) The Phys. Teach., 30, pp. 141-158; Thornton, R.K., Sokoloff, D.R., (1996) Assessing and Improving Student Learning of Newton's Laws. Part I: The Force and Motion Conceptual Evaluation and Active Learning Laboratory Curricula for the First and Second Laws; Redish, E.F., (1994) Am. J. Phys., 62, pp. 796-803
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conceptual understanding; Optics education; Problem-solving; Student learning; Education; Learning systems; Nanotechnology; Optics; Problem solving; Teaching; Research and development management
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 18:51
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2015 17:50

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