Assessing the formation of misconceptions when students learn PV using current curricular tools

Katherine G. Nelson, Sarah Brem, Christina H. Foster, Stuart Bowden, Jenefer Husman, Christiana Honsberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The purpose of this work is to discover the misconceptions students have related to PV content, in light of the way in which the content is portrayed curricular tools, namely through simulations. Undergraduate students were recruited from their first circuits courses (N=20) to participate in this study. Participants in the study were presented with PV related content displayed through a simulation previously developed by the PVCDROM. They observed these simulations and were asked associated questions, questions designed to uncover their misconceptions formed as a result of engaging with these simulations. Findings indicate that students hold misconceptions related to both of the simulations utilized; diffusion and drift. The results of this study indicate a need to conduct a deeper level of analysis of the participants' responses, which could potentially provide future evidence related to misconception formation as a result of how simulations related to drift and diffusion are presented using curricular tools. Diffusion and drift should be presented such that it discourages the formation of misconceptions, and ultimately removes barriers to learning PV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2013
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781479932993
StatePublished - 2013
Event39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2013 - Tampa, FL, United States
Duration: Jun 16 2013Jun 21 2013

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Other39th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTampa, FL


  • Learning PV
  • Misconceptions
  • Simulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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