Event Information

20 January 2022
5:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Event Categories:

The IOP’s Professional Practice Group warmly invites you to our Physics Education Research Seminar series for current and recent education researchers to share their research with the wider physics education community.

We return on Thursday 20 January 2022 from 5:00 – 6:15 pm.

This is an online event.

Richard Brock will be sharing his research on the messiness of learning and students conceptual change when studying forces. There’ll be time for a discussion and an update on the IOP’s Practical Implications in Physics Education Research (PIPER) project. Please see full details below.


Who is this session suitable for? 

  • Anyone wanting to hear more about current physics education research and implications for physics teaching.
  • Masters’ and EdD or PhD students – current or recently submitted.
  • Teachers who have engaged with action research in their classrooms.
  • University-based colleagues involved in physics education


The messiness of learning: Uncovering fine-grained patterns of conceptual change in learners’ conceptions of force

Learning in physics education is often thought of as conceptual change, that is, the process of how learners’ conceptions of physical phenomena change to resemble scientific models. Research into conceptual change has often relied on relatively low numbers and frequencies of probes, often a single pre- and post-test. Whilst useful for evaluating if change has taken place, such research cannot provide evidence on patterns of change over time. In this presentation I will report data that constructs fine-grained patterns of conceptual change overtime. The study examined five 16-17-year-old learners’ thinking about forces. The students were interviewed 22 times, over a period of 6 months to develop detailed representations of how their conceptions developed. The data suggest that learning is a messy process with periods of advance and regression and that moments of clear transition to using accepted scientific models are rare.

Richard Brock is a lecturer in science education at King’s College London. After working as a secondary physics teacher, Richard now lectures on the PGCE programme and supervises MA and doctoral students. His research interests include using stories to teach physics, the nature of scientific understanding, and teacher wellbeing.

Have some interesting research to share? 

Please email [email protected] if you would like to present at a future session, your research does not need to be complete for us to learn from your approaches.  


  • Available Spaces: 40
  • Contact Details:


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