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Conceptual Change Research in Geosience Education

Conceptual change research is an important field of science education research. This also applies to geoscience education (e.g. Guffey & Slater 2020). Despite the high importance of student conceptions for successful learning processes (Hattie 2017), a decline in conceptual change research can be observed in recent years (Potvin et al. 2020).

This presentation aims to provide an overview of conceptual change research in geoscience education. Building on the reviews by Cheek 2010, Francek 2013, Guffey & Slater 2020, the current state of reconstructing geoscience student conceptions will be outlined. Emphasis is placed on the specific challenges of learning geoscience content: the enormous temporal and spatial dimensions and the high complexity.

Finally, current approaches of conceptual change research (e.g. “embodied cognition”, cf. Amin 2015, “conceptual prevalence”, cf. Potvin & Cyr 2017) are discussed in their potential for further research in geoscience education.

The lecture is aimed at interested geoscientists who are only partially familiar with didactic theories. Examples from my own research on student conceptions (glaciers: Felzmann 2017, climate zoning) serve as illustration.


Dirk Felzmann1
1Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023