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Discipline-Based Education

Discipline-Based Education Research Group

The Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER) Group is a group of biological scientists interested in understanding how people think and learn about biology. We study how people learn biological concepts and scientific practices, and how best to evaluate teaching and learning. Working with both higher education and K-12 populations, we use science to investigate what learning goals and teaching practices best help students learn biology concepts. We are also actively exploring how scientific practices, such as working with data, explaining natural phenomena, solving complex problems, and building and improving scientific models, help people prepare for careers both inside and outside the sciences. Scientific questions about people are complex, so we base our research on existing research from a broad range of fields – from cognitive science, economics and sociology, to law, business and organizational development. This is a fast-growing subdiscipline of biology using cutting-edge research and mathematical approaches. It’s appropriate for people interested in looking for ways to get the best information possible from complex systems of people and environments. Our research is also applied research: we are using our results to make changes to how we teach our courses and how we evaluate our success.