Session S50b (Tuesday, 2pm, Thomas 201)

P571: Variation theory: Identifying the significance of difference

Thomas Bussey (University of Nevada – Las Vegas, USA)

Instructors are constantly baffled by the fact that two students who are sitting in the same class, who have access to the same materials, can come to understand a particular chemistry concept differently. Variation Theory offers a theoretical framework from which to explore the possibilities of variation in experience and the resulting deviation in learning and understanding. According to Variation Theory, there are a limited number of features of a given phenomenon to which we can pay attention at any given time. Our experience of that phenomenon depends on the specific features to which we direct our attention. Thus, two individuals may experience the same phenomenon but focus on different features and come to understand the phenomenon differently. In this presentation, I will discuss the potential applications of Variation Theory as well as the unique roles of the teacher, learner, and researcher within this framework.

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