Research


Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature;

it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves;

it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning.

- Werner Heisenberg


Magdalena Kersting in front of a blackboard
(Image Magdalena Kersting, All Rights Reserved)

Broadly, I study how learners experience abstract knowledge in digital and virtual learning environments in formal and informal learning contexts. I have a particular interest in embodied learning processes and the domain of Einsteinian physics education.


Studying learning is a complex task because of the intricate interplay of parameters at multiple levels: from the biological bases of cognition, to the individual psychological level of conceptual development and the collective sociocultural dimension of collaborative learning.
 To understand learning processes in science, I approach my research with curiosity and an openness to theoretical and methodological approaches from other disciplines, among them philosophy, cognitive science, and the learning sciences. This intellectual openness and curiosity across disciplines is one of the reasons I find science education research so exciting 🤓

 

Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher in project LISSI (Linking Instruction in Science and Student Impact) to study the quality of instructional practices in science classrooms. LISSI is a collaboration between the University of Oslo and the University of Tromsø and funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.

 

I collaborate with the Einstein-First team at the University of Western Australia to develop a seamless Einsteinian physics curriculum without paradigm clashes. Together with the Education and Public Outreach team of OzGrav, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery, I explore the benefits of using virtual reality in science education.

 

Previously, I developed a digital learning environment about Einstein’s general theory of relativity as part of the ReleQuant project and in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Science Education.