The goal of the educational research program is to evaluate existing resources for photovoltaics instruction, determine the foundational knowledge required for students to participate in the developing PV industry at multiple entry points, e.g., installers, manufacturing supervisors, and researchers, determine the motivational and cognitive barriers to learning about photovoltaics, and test instructional approaches designed to address those barriers. The photovoltaic curriculum is in its earliest stages of development, which presents a challenge, but also an opportunity—to build an entire curriculum for the field from scratch, incorporating cutting-edge educational research from cognitive science, educational psychology and engineering education, designing paths for multiple career routes and meeting the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. There are many facets to curriculum development, but a reasonable first step is to identify the critical concepts, processes, and procedures that anyone attempting to gain a fundamental understanding of PV would require. One study already completed by the team has revealed some common misconceptions that students have about the concepts of drift and diffusion. On-going research is utilizing think-aloud and written protocols to further probe PV education.

Research Faculty: Michelle Jordan (lead-ASU), Stuart Bowden (ASU), Tirupalavanam Ganesh (ASU), Sarah Brem (ASU), Shirley Yu (UH), Tonio Buonassisi (MIT), Christiana Honsberg (ASU), Middleton (ASU), Summers (UA).