QR CODES AS E-LEARNING TOOLS IN LAB SESSIONS FOR CHEMICAL ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATES

QR codes or “Quick Response codes” are widely used in business, industrial and commercial applications to embed URL, SMS, contact information and plain text. Nowadays, almost every undergraduate student has mobile phones or tablets equipped with QR codes readers. In this context, a new use of QR codes has been developed as a teaching e-learning tool in order to present an attractive access for students to multimedia content.
Chemical Engineering degree has several subjects focused on developing practical skills in students by laboratory sessions where they apply theoretical concepts to “real” processes and equipments that they will find at industrial scale. In these lab sessions, QR codes have been implemented to support professors’ lecture providing complementary material and home-made multimedia videos about the processes or equipments used in the laboratory. Multimedia videos used for learning activities have been created and recorded by the authors. These videos allow students to get a mobile learning: location independence and time independence which means “anyplace and anytime” to learn.
For example, one of the lab sessions for undergraduate chemical engineering students consist of working with unit operations commonly use in industrial processes such as Random Packing Columns at pilot scale. The aim of this lab session is to study the mass transfer in gas-liquid absorption processes at different operational conditions. Different QR codes have been implemented in this experimental set-up (see Table 1).

Table 1. QR code description
QR code Type Learning object
#1 Link URL Packing Columns Website
#2 Link URL Commercial Packing Materials: types and characteristics
#3 Home-made video Vernier caliper use
#4 Home-made video Barometer use
#5 Home-made video Analytical technique procedures

Students involved in lab sessions using QR codes and multimedia material have shown great interest in this update way to access to the complementary material. Students that used the QR codes and the multimedia material have shown a high capacity to work independently and a better understanding of the experimental procedure.