Centre for Applied Research in Education

PhD research project Ilham Bouisaghouane

The Dutch Black Hole Consortium: How can modern science support concept learning in primary education to motivate and engage learners from all backgrounds?


The Dutch Black Hole Consortium (DBHC) is a large, interdisciplinary consortium bringing together cutting-edge research from subjects as diverse as astronomy, engineering, and geology to further our understanding of black holes and gravitational waves. At its heart is an ambitious educational project to deploy the research results to advance education both classrooms and informal learning settings.

The PhD project focusses on primary education and investigates how cutting-edge science topics can be used as a didactic tool to support learners to think scientifically and support concept development. The project builds on the interactive application designed in the Minds-On project (https://www.minds-on.nl/) to stimulate hands-on/minds-on learning through a combination of practical activities and interactive knowledge representations. The PhD research is structured into four themes.

  • Theme one focusses on how interactive diagrams can help to steer concept learning during practical assignments.
  • Theme two investigates how the lessons with the interactive diagrams can be modified to motivate and engage learners from diverse backgrounds to improve learning outcomes.
  • In the third theme, the research focusses on how the didactic approach can be modified for use in informal learning environments such as science museums.
  • Finally, theme four investigates what is the state-of-the-art regarding astronomy education with an aim of identifying opportunities for future education and educational research.
Researcher Ilham Bouisaghouane
Promotor Prof. dr. I (Ionica) Smeets, Department of Science Communication and Society, Leiden University, Leiden.

Dr. J. (Joanna) Holt, Faculty of Education, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam

Dr. B. (Bert) Bredeweg, Faculty of Education, Amsterdam University of Applied Science, Amsterdam

Dr. P.M. (Pedro) Rodriques Dos Santos Russo, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, Leiden.
Published by  Centre for Applied Research in Education 26 June 2023

Project Info

Start date 01 Apr 2023
End date 31 Mar 2027


Ilham Bouisaghouane