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PhD: educational technology, self-regulation & conceptual understanding in STEM

PhD: educational technology, self-regulation & conceptual understanding in STEM

LESEC, or the Leuven Engineering and Science Education Center in full, is a community of researchers and practitioners contributing to the advancement of education in the Science, Engineering & Technology group. This includes R&D and consultancy activities, and the establishment of a network for cooperation and the exchange of experiences. Two of the four themes of LESEC are involved in the proposed PhD Project: "study career guidance in STEM" & "conceptual understanding and problem solving".

One of the challenges that every student encounters in the transition from Secondary to Higher Education is the development of self-regulatory skills. Research has shown that better self-regulation is associated with higher learning gains. Learning self-regulating skills also proved to be more effective if it is linked to the discipline itself than if it is treated in a discipline-agnostic package.

Challenging students to reflect on their self-regulating learning behaviour by, for example, using a study journal or self-reporting questionnaires can encourage them to adjust their behaviour. The PhD project will further develop and adapt the Learning Companion, an instrument developed by EPFL (Switzerland) that has shown to impact students' self-regulatory skills. First , the instrument has to be adapted to the specific context of KU Leuven. Next, it will be extended with discipline-specific thinking strategies related to known conceptual difficulties?. The project will focus on known discipline-specific challenges in Electromagnetism and Mechanics. The PhD project will measure the impact of the learning Companion on students' self-regulatory skills and conceptual understanding in multiple STEM programs.

Short job description:
* To perform scientific research in preparation of a PhD thesis (see project): read relevant literature, organize interventions and studies , study conceptual understanding within science and engineering, develop educational technology, process and analyse data, write scientific papers and present your research at international conferences.
* Being part of the enthousiastic team of the Leuven Engineering and Science Education Center and participate in its activities such as the PhD seminars, annual events, conclave.
* To assist/guide Master thesis students within the research topic.
* To assist in the teaching of courses that fit your background and expertise.

* You obtained a relevant Master's degree, preferable within Sciences, Engineering Sciences, or Bio-engineering Sciences.
* You achieved excellent results during your study program (at least with distinction).
* You have a strong interest in higher education and are motivated to impact actual higher education with your PhD research.
* You are capable of taking initiative, working independently, and respecting deadlines.
* You are open-minded and are looking forward to work in a multi-disciplinary team.
* You have good communication skills that allow you to talk to a variety of stakeholders.
* You are technology minded and are looking forward to use technology in an educational context.
* You are a team player who takes up his/her responsibility.
* You have the ability to motivate people to participate in your studies, and you have good organizational skills to plan and organize your studies.
* You have excellent oral and written communication skills in English.
* Knowledge of Dutch is a plus, as the courses on which the PhD research will be focusing are taught in Dutch.
* You have good pedagogical skills in order to facilitate the learning of bachelor and master students.

We offer the PhD candidate a full-time employment for four years, but with an evaluation after one and two years. During this evaluation the PhD candidate has to present their progress. If progress is insufficient, the PhD trajectory can be terminated. Successful completion of the PhD program will result in a joint doctoral degree Engineering Science and Science (KU Leuven).


KU Leuven - Universiteit

PhD: educational technology, self-regulation & conceptual understanding in STEM

KU Leuven, Leuven
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