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Title: The use of a metacognitive tool to track learning in science by adults
Author: Brimson, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0004 2691 1507
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2009
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The territory covered by this work includes the response to new information in science by adults. A central aim is to shed some light on the problem of how new and more complex knowledge (specifically conceptual knowledge) develops or arises from old and less complex knowledge. This problem has challenged both philosophers and educators for over twenty centuries. The study draws on perspectives from several academic disciplines, in particular from philosophy, science, and sociology, and to a lesser extent from psychology. These disciplines are used in the first part of the thesis to set the context, both for the problem and for the qualitative research approach which tackles it, as well as to review literature that pertains to the field. Among hindrances to learning that are considered, particular attention is given to difficulties encountered with science texts; trials of some experimental approaches to the problems are included. The central research question concerns how adults learning science respond to new information, especially information that conflicts with their existing knowledge. The problem is approached within a constructivist framework using the metacognitive tool of the concept map as a means of tracking the type of learning (deep or surface) that is taking place. Data relating to the type of learning are also produced through questionnaires and interviews from volunteer participants who are pursuing further and higher education courses that include mandatory science components. The results of the study indicate considerable reluctance to abandon what has been learned previously, in favour of new information. Contrary to expectation was the discovery that adults respond to new information with surface learning strategies, placing extensive reliance (initially at least) on memory, whether or not they declare a preference for meaningful learning. There are implications of this discovery for those who plan and deliver short 'refresher' training courses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available