The focus of our previous work on Electrical Engineering were the phase relationships between different signals (currents and voltages) in AC systems. Using short written tests, we investigated student understanding of this topic at three different universities. Results from this study are presented in Kautz (2008) and Kautz (2011, “Development of …”). This latter publication also describes how the results were used for the development of instructional materials (Tutorien zur Elektrotechnik, available in German) and how this resulted in an improvement of student learning.
In our current work, we investigate the role of the concept of “potential” for the understanding of electrical networks. For this purpose, technical questions on circuits with open switches proved particularly helpful. We use the results from this work for the continued development of the instructional materials mentioned above.
Most recently, we have been looking into student understanding of the systems concept as well as the relevance and implication of using models for the description of electrical networks.