An investigation of two profiles within conceptions of learning science: An examination of confirmatory factor analysis

Che Li Lin*, Chin Chung Tsai, Jyh Chong Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Conceptions of learning are drawn from an individuals' learning experiences, which are theoretically built upon the phenomenographic research method. Seven conceptions of learning in the domain of science are identified: "memorizing," "testing," "calculating and practicing," "increase of knowledge," "application," "understanding," and "seeing in a new way" (Tsai, International Journal of Science Education, 26(14): 1733-1750, 2004). The first three are classified as the reproductive profile while the last three are assigned to the constructive profile, each of which exhibits different learning features. However, where the conception "increase of knowledge" can be located, either in the constructive or the reproductive profile, is still unclear, and yet this two-profile tendency is rarely examined. This study utilizes confirmatory factor analysis to find the most appropriate model to illustrate this two-profile categorization. The first proposed model tested the two-profile relationship with the conception of "increase of knowledge" assigned to the constructive profile, while the second examined whether it could be included in the reproductive-oriented profile. The results of the confirmatory factor analysis show that the first proposed model, with "increase of knowledge" pertaining to the constructive conceptions, provided more satisfactory outcomes. Possible cultural perspectives as well as implications for science instruction are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-521
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptions of learning science
  • Constructivist
  • Science education
  • Structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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