Learning science in groups – a multianalytical perspective on constituting and participating in spaces of learning
Paper in proceedings, 2011

What can be learned by whom in groups discussing physics? This paper offers results based on empirical material from audio and video recorded small groups of three to four university students discussing and solving physics problems in Newtonian mechanics. In addressing the question, we have foregrounded aspects in relation to the knowledge content. However, in order to more fully understand the situation, we have applied two distinct analytical frameworks – phenomenography and position theory – which are primarily focused on how the learning possibilities are constituted in the group discussion and the discursive and social aspects of the group work, respectively. Bringing the results of these two analyses together reveal some interesting connections, like that the character of the storylines links to certain characters of learning possibilities. We will also discuss the basis for and implications of addressing the same learning events with parallel theoretical perspectives, phenomenography and variation theory on the one hand and situated learning and position theory on the other hand, in relation to a pragmatic aim of improving university science teaching and learning and in relation to a research-framed aim of understanding learning processes in science education.

Phenomenography and Variation Theory

Classroom Discourse

Social Interaction in Learning and Instruction


Åke Ingerman

University of Gothenburg

Maria Berge

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers)

The 14th Biennial Conference EARLI, Exeter, UK, 30 August - 3 September 2011

Subject Categories


Educational Sciences


Communication Studies

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