Contributions of the theory of variation to "learning to learn"

Po Yuk KO, Yin Wah Priscilla LO-FU, Wing Yin KWOK, Shuying Sean LI, Pun Hon NG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


In the past six years, more than 200 Learning Studies have been completed by the Center for Learning-study And School Partnership. These cases provided strong evidence that the Theory of Variation is a powerful tool for teachers to help students to learn. Such learning can be described at two levels: at the first level, students were helped to discern the object of learning, through the pattern of variation that the teachers consciously constructed to facilitate learning; at the second level, when students were made aware of the pattern of variation that was used and how it led to their learning, there is the possibility that students would have acquired a powerful tool to learn by themselves. In the past years, all our attention have been focused on the first level. In this symposium, we will draw on examples from the various Learning Studies to illustrate how different patterns of variation can produce the different functions: contrast, separation, generalization and fusion, which we considered to be fundamental to the learning of Level 1 described above. Some of the functions will be examined in more details, and then we would discuss how we could make better use of this knowledge to facilitate learning at both the first Level and at the second level. We would use evidence from our data to demonstrate that some students were able to discern how the pattern of variation used in class facilitated their own learning. We would also point the way to further research to facilitate learning at the second level to take place.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Ko, P. Y., Lo-Fu, Y. W., Kwok, W. Y., Li, S., & Ng, P. H. (2006, December). Contributions of the theory of variation to "learning to learn". Symposium conducted at the EARLI Special Interest Group 9: Phenomenography and Variation Theory: Biennial Workshop, The University of Hong Kong, China.


  • Teacher Education
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching and Learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Contributions of the theory of variation to "learning to learn"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.