MA3060 - Theories for Knowledge and Learning in Mathematics


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

The course will focus on identifying and characterising aspects that are relevant for describing and explaining learning of mathematics. Important examples will be taken from analysis and algebra. Important topics from mathematics education will be treated, such as concept definition/concept image, process/object, and the prototype concept. These topics will be exemplified through e.g. the function concept and related concepts. The role of representations and shifting between representations will be emphasised. ICT-tools and learning of mathematics will be discussed using the theory of Instrumental Genesis. Modelling as a way of working will be discussed in connection with the theory for Realistic Mathematics Education (RME). Further, one will work with a content analysis of algebra. Different approaches to algebra will be discussed (such as generalising and problem solving) together with a discussion of different roles of letters (variable, unknown) and the equal sign. Different theories for knowledge and learning, in particular socio-cultural theories, will be discussed, as well as different views on and philosophies for mathematics.

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student shall, with basis in relevant theory, be able to design and implement classroom based investigations within a given mathematical topic. The student shall further be able to use the theoretical concepts in an analysis of classroom observations with emphasis on students’ learning of mathematics. This course will, together with MA3061 and RFEL3100, give the relevant basis for writing a master thesis directed towards problems from mathematics education.

Learning methods and activities

The teaching is organised as seminars containing a blend of lectures, group work and discussions, as well as presentations of students’ work. The course requires a high degree of student participation. It is therefore necessary to be present in class to get sufficient learning outcome. The course will be given in autumn in years of even numbers.

Course materials

The literature is based on research articles from mathematics education and will be announced at the start of the course.

More on the course

Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Didactics in Mathematics
  • Mathematics
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Mathematical Sciences


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