ERIC Number: EJ924610
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
An Investigation of Tertiary-Level Learning in Some Practical Physics Courses
Wang, Weili; Coll, Richard K.
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v3 n4 p639-669 Dec 2005
Experimental physics is seen as an essential part of tertiary physics education. Students are supposed to develop practical skills and advance from closed "cookbook" experiments to open experiment and design experiment procedures independently. As a consequence tertiary practical physics courses increase in the level of challenge throughout an undergraduate degree program. The research reported here consists of an investigation of two solely laboratory-based experimental physics courses: a second-year course "Experimental Physics and Instrumentation," and a third-year course "Advanced Experimental Physics," offered at a New Zealand tertiary institution. The research suggests that although the structure, content, and teaching methods in the two courses vary; there is little difference in students' learning strategies employed in the two courses. It appears bridging experiments may be necessary to help students shift from a highly directive pedagogy at the lower levels of the undergraduate practical physics program, to a more open inquiry approach.
Descriptors: Inquiry, Learning Strategies, Physics, Foreign Countries, Teaching Methods, College Science, Science Experiments, Science Process Skills, Undergraduate Study, Science Laboratories
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand