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Keynote Mona Holmqvist Olander

Dr Mona Holmqvist Olander is an associate professor in Education at the Department of School Development and leadership at Malmö University, Sweden.

Picture Mona Holmqvist OlanderHer main research interest is studying learning and teaching in classroom environments, and teachers’ pre- and in-service education mainly with phenomenomenography and variation theory as research approaches.

She has got several research grants as a research project leader, and one of them aimed to study the implementation of learning study in Sweden. Holmqvist Olander served as a Coordinator for European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI Sig 9) between 2005 and 2009 .

She is currently a council member of World Association of Lesson Study (WALS) and was the Chair of the international conference on lesson and learning studies; WALS 2013 in Gothenburg.

Keynote presentation

Capturing discernments - methodological issues in phenomenography and variation theoretical perspectives

The ontological assumptions in phenomenography are based on the supposition that there is only one world, but different people construct their discernments of the world in different ways - their own ways - which results in an indefinite number of ways to discern the world.

This is true for all instances, which means that we as researchers also capture our subjective perspectives of respondents' discernments in our research projects. This is a challenge, as we have so far mainly used interviews or respondents' texts as data material in phenomenographic analysis, which means we only capture what we discern from data in a subjective way.

In analyzes based on variation theory, we claim to gather and analyze data to give a solid ground to understand what aspects of a phenomenon the respondent has discerned and what aspects of the object of learning they need to discern to develop their knowledge further (critical aspects). By that, there is a tension in our research approach, as this might indicate that there is an object of learning which is separeted from the subject and by that objectified, which is in contradiction with our non-dualistic standpoint.

However, the relativistic stance in our framework gives us an acceptance for that there are objects which are the same to everyone, thus experienced differently depending on your previous experiences avoiding the objectivistic standpoint. Our methodological approaches rely on the utterances of the respondents which gives us access to experiences and discernments which the respondents are aware of and decides to share with us. Questioning if there is more to understand than what the respondents express, we have used eye-tracking as a method to understand what focus, and by that what becomes possible to discern from an object, respondents have.

The results show differences in focus which gives different affordances for discernment, which the respondents are unaware of. In one study, we have used a new method to capture respondents' disernment, going beyond what they actually describe by their own expressions, namely eye-tracking.

The results show differences in viewing-pattern, where respondents with an initial global overview of the material ended up with a more develpoed understanding about the content. I will discuss the method, its implications, how it was used in the conducted study, in what way this method can contribute to our research approach.



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More information

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