Phenomenographic studies in variations of learning and teaching of economic and management sciences in secondary schools
Assan, Thomas Edwin Buabeng
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The main purpose of this research was to establish how the theory of variation could be used as a resource to enhance learning in Economic and Management Sciences. In the process three specific interdependent research questions were addressed: firstly "how can we develop among learners a good understanding of a particular topic in EMS, for example how the price or value of the Rand is determined on the Foreign Exchange market? secondly "how can the theory of variation be used as a tool for learners to experience the object of learning in a particular way?"; and lastly, "How can the use of a learning study help educators to improve their teaching and make a particular kind of learning possible?" The study utilised pre-test-post-test retention design experiment in phenomenographic studies. A learning study tool within the variation theory of learning was incorporated into a series of grade nine classroom-learning activities on foreign exchange market operation. 361 learners participated in the study. Three main findings were established. Firstly an outcome space was found which contained four qualitatively different ways of experiencing the determination of the Rand price/value on the foreign exchange market. Secondly there was a statistically significant difference between the pre-test and post-test in learning outcome of the understanding of Rand price determination. This was demonstrated using t-test at p-value of 0.000, followed by Levene's t-test for equality of variance test. Thirdly, the results showed an educationally significant improvement in learners' understanding of the EMS concept, through the application of a learning study tool in the variation theory of learning The study therefore supports the role of the theory of variation of learning, which means that learning to see something in a particular way is a function of experiencing simultaneous variation in critical aspects of the object of learning. Educators identify the critical aspects related to different ways of understanding of a particular object of learning, and to design the patterns of variation, or create the space of variation consciously with respect to these critical aspects.
- Education