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ERIC Number: EJ1076751
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 104
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-1554-9178
Framework for Understanding the Patterns of Student Difficulties in Quantum Mechanics
Marshman, Emily; Singh, Chandralekha
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v11 n2 p020119-1-020119-26 Jul-Dec 2015
Compared with introductory physics, relatively little is known about the development of expertise in advanced physics courses, especially in the case of quantum mechanics. Here, we describe a framework for understanding the patterns of student reasoning difficulties and how students develop expertise in quantum mechanics. The framework posits that the challenges many students face in developing expertise in quantum mechanics are analogous to the challenges introductory students face in developing expertise in introductory classical mechanics. This framework incorporates both the effects of diversity in upper-level students' prior preparation, goals, and motivation in general (i.e., the facts that even in upper-level courses, students may be inadequately prepared, have unclear goals, and have insufficient motivation to excel) as well as the "paradigm shift" from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics. The framework is based on empirical investigations demonstrating that the patterns of reasoning, problem-solving, and self-monitoring difficulties in quantum mechanics bear a striking resemblance to those found in introductory classical mechanics. Examples from research in quantum mechanics and introductory classical mechanics are discussed to illustrate how the patterns of difficulties are analogous as students learn to unpack the respective principles and grasp the formalism in each knowledge domain during the development of expertise. Embracing such a framework and contemplating the parallels between the difficulties in these two knowledge domains can enable researchers to leverage the extensive literature for introductory physics education research to guide the design of teaching and learning tools for helping students develop expertise in quantum mechanics. [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Upper Division Physics Courses.]
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail: assocpub@aps.org; Web site: http://prst-per.aps.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: PHY-1505460|PHY-1202909