APOS: A Constructivist Theory of Learning in Undergraduate Mathematics Education Research
In this paper, we have mentioned six ways in which a theory can contribute to research and we suggest that this list can be used as criteria for evaluating a theory. We have described how one such perspective, APOS Theory, is being used in an organized way by members of RUMEC and others to conduct research and develop curriculum. We have shown how observing students’ success in making or not making mental constructions proposed by the theory and using such observations to analyze data can organize our thinking about learning mathematical concepts, provide explanations of student difficulties and predict success or failure in understanding a mathematical concept. There is a wide range of mathematical concepts to which APOS Theory can and has been applied and this theory is used as a language for communication of ideas about learning. We have also seen how the theory is grounded in data, and has been used as a vehicle for building a community of researchers. Yet its use is not restricted to members of that community. Finally, we point to an annotated bibliography (McDonald, 2000), which presents further details about this theory and its use in research in undergraduate mathematics education.
KeywordsMathematics Education Mathematical Concept Mathematical Thinking Constructivist Theory Concept Image
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