The ECLIPSE Project




ECLIPSE is a project of Dr Keith S Taber


Exploring Conceptual Learning, Integration and Progression in Science Education

This project seeks to develop a better understanding of how conceptual learning occurs in science, with a particular focus on how well the learner's conceptions are integrated, and how conceptual frameworks develop over time. The project is underpinned by a constructivist position on learning - that the nature of all learning is highly contingent (upon prior learning, learning context, features of language…). This project is intended to develop theory about learning science that will be of practical use to teachers, learners and those responsible for determining the science curriculum. The project data covers a wide range of science topics.

Key themes in ECLIPSE

•  Conceptual integration: there are many research studies looking at learners' ideas in science - in many topics, and for learners of different ages. Whilst ECLIPSE contributes to the general project of characterising the way learners tend to understand science topics, it seeks to move beyond descriptive accounts but exploring

• conceptual learning: what is the nature of learners' personal knowledge about scientific phenomena, and how does learning take place?

conceptual integration: how do learners relate different aspects of their learning, e.g. across topics or disciplines?

• conceptual progression: how does learners' knowledge develop over time?

This work has therefore included in-depth explorations of students' ideas; interviewing the same learner across a range of topics; and interviewing the same learner over extended periods of time.

These projects are informed by a constructivist perspective on learning, i.e. informed by constructivism as an educational theory ('constructivism' is used as something of a blanket term for a range of ideas relating to teaching, learning and epistemology).

Making sense of science learning

ECLIPSE projects have in particular used interviews to explore in some detail student thinking about aspects of science. In-depth interviews can allow researchers to follow-up students comments, and look for patterns in their responses (consistency or inconsistency, shifts over time or across context, etc.) Sometimes these approaches even offer insight into learners making links in their science thinking, apparently in the context of considering interview questions.