Northeastern Illinois University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 5956-5960
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This year was the culmination of a four year process of implementing the Mastery Learning Model in the Organic Chemistry Laboratory. The Mastery Learning Laboratories were introduced in order to engage students in a more dynamic, collaborative and reflective process within the lab. As will be discussed in greater detail, the traditional laboratories required students to follow careful “cookbook style” instructions and obtain predictable results. This innovative approach sought to create a laboratory experience that not only mirrored the exigencies of real scientific research, but also enabled students to take ownership of the process and collaborate with students to obtain an unpredictable outcome. Students were not provided with directions, they were instead provided with a problem which they were required to scientifically solve in teams. There was not one way to resolve it, but the application of their learnings provided the tools to come up with a variety of ways, some more successful than others, to ultimately obtain results. This iterative research process led students to obtain a deeper understanding of the material, engage more thoughtfully in the process, and correlate their book learning with real life application. The implementation of this student centered laboratory took several years and was continually updated in response to student and peer leader feedback, and my own assessment. By 2012-2013, the laboratory model had been sufficiently implemented to obtain categorical feedback on the experience, and provided an opportunity to evaluate whether this model had reached our goals. A complete new set of laboratory experiments for Organic Chemistry I and II were developed and the chem-wiki was used for laboratory reporting in which students working in teams reflect on the process and application to real life situations. The new model was developed with the goal of enhancing student learning, promoting critical thinking, and helping students understand the experimental process in a collaborative and reflective manner.