From doing to learning: changed focus during a pre-school learning study project on organic decomposition

Agneta Ljung-Djärf, Andreas Magnusson, Sam Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explored the use of the learning study (LS) model in developing Swedish pre-school science learning. This was done by analysing a 3-cycle LS project implemented to help a group of pre-school teachers (n?=?5) understand their science educational practice, by collaboratively and systematically challenging it. Data consisted of video recordings of 1 screening (n?=?7), 1 initial planning meeting, 3 analysis meetings, 3 interventions, and 78 individual test interviews with the children (n?=?26). The study demonstrated that the teachers were initially uncomfortable with using scientific concepts and with maintaining the children's focus on the object of learning without framing it with play. During the project, we noted a shift in focus towards the object of learning and how to get the children to discern it. As teachers? awareness changed, enhanced learning was noted among the children. The study suggests that the LS model can promote pre-school science learning as follows: by building on, re-evaluating, and expanding children's experiences; and by helping the teachers focus on and contrast critical aspects of an object of learning, and to reflect on the use of play, imagination, and concepts and on directing the children's focus when doing so. Our research showed that the LS model holds promise to advance pre-school science learning by offering a theoretical tool useable to shift the focus from doing to learning while teaching science using learning activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-676
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogy (50301)


  • Early childhood education
  • Learning study
  • Science learning
  • Variation theory


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