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ERIC Number: EJ1007908
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-1756-1108
Variation Theory: A Theory of Learning and a Useful Theoretical Framework for Chemical Education Research
Bussey, Thomas J.; Orgill, MaryKay; Crippen, Kent J.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice, v14 n1 p9-22 2013
Instructors are constantly baffled by the fact that two students who are sitting in the same class, who have access to the same materials, can come to understand a particular chemistry concept differently. Variation theory offers a theoretical framework from which to explore possible variations in experience and the resulting differences in learning and understanding. According to variation theory, there are a limited number of features of a given phenomenon to which we can pay attention at any given time. Our experience of that phenomenon depends on the specific features to which we direct our attention. Two individuals who experience the same phenomenon may focus on different features and, thus, come to understand the phenomenon differently. The purpose of this article is to present variation theory as (1) a useful way for instructors to think about student learning and (2) a potentially powerful theoretical framework from which to conduct chemical education research. (Contains 4 figures.)
Royal Society of Chemistry. Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. Tel: +44-1223 420066; Fax: +44-1223 423623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers; Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A