VARIATION THEORY: A TOOL TO ANALYSE AND DEVELOP LEARNING AT SCHOOL

TitleVARIATION THEORY: A TOOL TO ANALYSE AND DEVELOP LEARNING AT SCHOOL
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHolmqvist, M, Mattisson, J
JournalProblems of Education in the 21st Century
Volume7
Start Page31-38
Date PublishedJune/2008
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1822-7864
Other NumbersICID: 863765
Keywordsinstruction, phenomenography, variation theory
Abstract

This chapter argues that the decisive factor in the learning process is the object focused upon in the learning situation and not, as is commonly believed, the teaching method. We demonstrate how teaching and learning can be facilitated with the aid of a theory. The theory chosen is variation theory, which allows one to explain what it takes to learn a certain learning object. Both pupils’ and teachers’ learning are focused upon, as learning takes place in the interaction between the two. It is in the meeting of pupils’ and teachers’ knowledge that understanding of a specific learning object takes place. The three integral components of variation theory – discernment, simultaneity and variation – are described. By studying a specific learning object in three different classroom situations we demonstrate how it is possible to illuminate the different ways in which a learning object can be presented. These ways are described and analysed in terms of their implications for pupils’ learning. Our paper elucidates how variation theory can be employed to describe, plan and analyse the learning process. In a research project, it is the selection of what is to be focused upon which is the most critical factor, as it determines both the choice of theoretical perspective and method. Both theory and method are important tools for providing answers to research questions. It is only when the lesson content is specified and the pupils’ knowledge before and after a lesson is both ascertained and related to how the specific learning object has been presented in the classroom that one can determine what pupils have learned, and why they have learned it. Variation theory is an ideal theoretical perspective for such a study.

URLhttp://oaji.net/articles/2014/457-1392234817.pdf
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Full Text