Self-efficacy and conceptual knowledge in quantum mechanics during teaching reforms and the COVID-19 pandemic

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Physics instruction is often unable to support students' self-efficacy. The remote teaching brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has also affected learning. We surveyed an introductory quantum mechanics course for three years during a transition into the spin first approach, adapting the student-centered prime-time learning model and using it through the remote teaching during the pandemic. Prime-time learning includes weekly meetings where students and instructors discuss in a small group, and the assessment is based on exercises, group work, and self-assessment. We show that this teaching method improved students' self-efficacy. Students' conceptual knowledge post teaching remained high throughout the teaching reform, as measured by an abbreviated Quantum Mechanics Concept Assessment test. We also find that the prime-time model is remarkably stable during remote teaching: in contrast to many other studies, we did not see a decline in conceptual learning outcomes or self-efficacy in remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020122
JournalPhysical review special topics. Physics education research
Issue number2
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 114 Physical sciences

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