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Quantum physics: Learning impossibilities the experiential way


Quantum physics was recently added as a new and required subject in the central examination for pre-university students in the Netherlands who select physics as part of their curriculum. Students, however, have deep conceptual problems with quantum physics because its phenomena are counterintuitive, applications are unknown, and earlier acquired classical physics knowledge is often no longer valid. In this project, we develop a new method for teaching quantum physics that starts from inquiry learning with interactive virtual laboratories that visualise quantum physics phenomena. This inquiry phase is followed by a peer tutoring phase and a class discussion in which key situations from the inquiry phase are further discussed and explained. The project itself starts with a co-creation stage in which virtual labs, peer tutoring and class discussion scripts are developed in an iterative design cycle involving teachers, students, and designers. The effectiveness of the new method is evaluated in a cross-cohort comparison using a dedicated quantum physics test and the national examination scores. The virtual labs, the online learning spaces in which these are offered, and the developed scripts will be available for free to every physics teacher in the Netherlands and world-wide, through the Go-Lab sharing platform ( Dedicated workshops for (in-service) teachers will be offered and a course for pre-service teachers will be created and shared. The overall approach developed can also be applied to design instruction for other (difficult) science topics.


Luiza Vilarta Rodriguez



Project website

Additional information about the project can be found here.