friday, 10 march 2023—12:15
Why do we learn science better when it looks like a novel? [ONLINE]
Sara Soares, University of Lisbon
Everyone can benefit from learning science. Yet, because scientific thinking and discourse differ so starkly from their everyday counterparts, this learning can prove challenging. Building on the proposal of foregrounding the literacy component of science education, the present PhD project examined the impact of narrative texts as literacy-mediated science learning tools. As the theoretical backbone, we proposed a dialogue between multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks, and identified two complementary questions for tackling the issue of learning from science narrative texts. One question pertains to the learning outcomes, the other to the conditions and processes generating them, and a set of learning materials were developed to investigate them. Regarding learning outcomes, a behavioural study and a combined behavioural and eye tracking study showed that young adults with low prior science knowledge learn from science narrative texts at various comprehension levels. The behavioural study further showed that, depending on the science topic, this learning can be superior or equivalent to the one yielded by expository texts. As regards learning conditions and processes, the same studies showed that a set of learner features jointly contribute to this learning, with the combined study further showing that attention to and thoughts on human action make independent contributions to learning. A final qualitative study shed light on the meanings that people attribute to science learning, and on how narrative texts and museums can help bridge gaps between people and science. Overall, findings suggest that narrative texts can be a useful tool for science learning and bring learners closer to the human facet of science.
Teams link: https://bit.ly/3J3D3sC