Characterising group work in science in higher education – Storylines in the local and the global context
Paper in proceeding, 2010
This paper reports on research aiming to further the understanding of group work in higher education, primarily in science. This is done through characterising how the frame of the group work is constituted in the students’ interaction. By using situated learning theory as a theoretical framework and positioning theory as an analytic tool, we explore methodological grounds for describing the complex and dynamic processes of group work, focusing simultaneously on the person and the community and how they constitute each other. Our approach can be seen as a synthesis of individual and social views of learning. Empirically we focus on four group sessions with students from two different Master’s programs, an Engineering Physics program and a Bioengineering program, at Chalmers University of Technology. The students in both programs were asked to solve two physics problems, mainly concerning force and friction, related to their current introductory mechanics courses.