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Designing tasks in a learning study with learning activity as a framework
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1962-4126
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The issue for this paper is to discuss the theoretical and methodological foundations of tasks constructed and used in a learning study with a focus on students' exploration of algebraic expressions. Data comes from a research project conducted in a Grade 10 (first year of upper secondary school) in a Swedish school comprising three research lessons.

As part of the learning study a phenomenographic study (Marton, 2015) was conducted, identifying following critical aspects: 1) to discern what constitutes an information-bearing unit and that it can consist of several components, e.g. an expression within parenthesis 2) to discern how the information in a situation can be represented by variables and expressions and 3) to discern that a component of an expression can be expressed in various ways with the information given, e.g. y can be replaced by 300 - x.

Whereas variation theory (Marton, 2015) is commonly used as a theoretical framework in learning studies, this study employs learning activity (Davydov, 2008), when designing and analyzing the research lessons. A learning activity in Davydov’s sense is characterized by introducing students to a problem situation comprising such theoretical aspects that they need to discern. The problem situation needs to be perceived as meaningful but where the students’ current knowledge is to some extent insufficient. Further, the students should be provided with some mediating tools, learning models, that can help them elaborate on the identified problem.

When constructing a problem situation an analysis of the content of the learning object can be of help in finding a possible problem that needs to be transformed into a learning task. Thus, tasks in a learning activity aims to give students opportunities to gain access to theoretical content that is built into a specific knowledge e.g. algebraic expressions. In order to create, achieve or establish a learning activity, a theoretical work needs to be done collectively by the students in relation to a specific problem situation (Eriksson, 2017).

As Zuckerman (2004) describes, the reflection process in a learning activity needs to be organized so that the students among other things can take others’ perspective. Thus, the students are to be given opportunities to reflect on others’ contributions including others’ use of learning models e.g. inviting students into a fictional situation by presenting what fictitious students have answered. Collective reflections have, in this sense, a crucial function in a learning activity developing students’ understandings of algebraic expressions. Therefore, planning for collective reflections must also be considered as part of the task design.

In the paper we will exemplify and discuss how two tasks were designed and developed iteratively in three research lessons utilizing the principles of learning activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Learning study, Learning activity, Task design
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172836OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172836DiVA, id: diva2:1350149
Conference
World Association of Lesson Studies (WALS) International Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 3–6 September, 2019
Projects
Developing algebraic reasoning capability
Funder
Swedish Institute for Educational Research, 2016/151Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-09-23Bibliographically approved

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