Students' transfer of learning of eigenvalues and eigenvectors : implementation of actor-oriented transfer framework Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/pn89d978w

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate third year college students' transfer of learning of the concepts of eigenvalues and eigenvectors from the winter term physics courses to the interviews in which they participated before, during, and after these courses. Transfer of learning of each student was explored by implementing the Actor-Oriented Transfer (AOT) framework (Lobato, 1996). The research questions addressed by this study were 1. What characterizes upper-level physics students' emerging understanding of the concepts of eigenvalues and eigenvectors before, during, and after studying the concepts in an intensive linear algebra review week and implementing them during a series of three 3-week intensive physics courses? 2. What do students transfer about the concepts of eigenvalues and eigenvectors from this series of courses to an interview setting? More precisely, what kind of experiences and views related to matrices, methods of finding eigenvalues and eigenvectors, the interpretation and use of the eigenvalue equation, and the relationship between basis vectors and eigenvectors do upper-level physics students transfer from their coursework to the interview setting? 3. In what ways do the experiences students choose to transfer relate to their emerging understanding of the concept of eigenvalues and eigenvectors? Seven junior level physics majors volunteered to participate in the study. Participants were enrolled in four physics courses during the winter term. The seven students participated in three in-depth interviews before, during, and after they were enrolled in these courses. Four students were purposefully selected for in-depth case analysis and a cross-case analysis by actor-oriented transfer was conducted on the data from all seven students. The results of this study suggest the importance of exploring the issue of transfer by implementing the actor-oriented transfer framework. The researcher found that the actor-oriented transfer analysis provided evidence of transfer from the winter term courses to the interviews. Six students transferred their experience from a small group activity to the second interviews. There were other experiences students seemed to transfer however the transfer from this small group activity was observed in six of the participants' data.
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