Discipline-based education research (DBER) focuses on questions related to the teaching and learning of a specific discipline. In the science fields, this research focuses primarily on learning in formal settings (mostly undergraduate courses); I argue here that DBER should also encompass learning in any setting (informal, or just life in general). The research is informed by the boundaries of the discipline in which the research is occurring – these boundaries involve recognizing the unique knowledge, skills, and ways of knowing inherent to a specific discipline. The research should also be informed by more general study of human cognition, such as emerges from psychology, cognitive science, or learning science disciplines.

In the geosciences, Geoscience Education Research (GER) could be considered a subfield under a broader Geocognition umbrella. For example, see this 2006 piece on Geoscience Education Research with a call to broaden the field: Geoscience Education in the US). Both GER and Geocognition are bounded by geoscience disciplinary knowledge, on the one hand, and human cognition, on the other. Where GER focuses solely on teaching and learning (and perhaps only in undergraduate settings), Geocognition seeks answers to all questions related to the intersection between geoscience and cognition, expanding into areas as diverse as perception, working memory, fundamental latent traits, visual perception, decision making, and behavior in the context of geoscience phenomena.

See a recent blog post: On DBER

Learn how our work relates to DBER by reading more about our geocognition and geoscience education research