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Abstract

Research questions are shaped, explicitly or implicitly, by the theories we bring to bear upon our scholarship. Broadening our theoretical perspectives allows us to frame richer, deeper questions about the teaching and learning happening in our classrooms. This paper explicates the research implications of three broad theories of learning (constructivist, socio-cultural, and complexivist), exploring what scholarship framed by each theory might look like and some of the strengths and limitations of each framework. The authors use their experience engaging in research on teaching and learning in an undergraduate interdisciplinary science program to illustrate the argument that changing theories can help improve the scholarship and practice of teaching and learning in higher education.

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