Publication Details

Jolley, D. F., Wilson, S. R., Kelso, C., O'Brien, G. & Mason, C. E. (2016). Analytical thinking, analytical action: using prelab video demonstrations and e-quizzes to improve undergraduate preparedness for analytical chemistry practical classes. Journal of Chemical Education, 93 (11), 1855-1862.


This project utilizes visual and critical thinking approaches to develop a higher-education synergistic prelab training program for a large second-year undergraduate analytical chemistry class, directing more of the cognitive learning to the prelab phase. This enabled students to engage in more analytical thinking prior to engaging in the analytical action in the laboratory, motivating students to arrive at classes prepared to engage in the material rather than the mechanics (physical processes) of the practical exercises. This reduced the likelihood of cognitive overload at the beginning of the class. Video demonstrations were developed providing both visual demonstrations with audio explanations to reinforce each concept, and students were guided to these through compulsory prelab e-quizzes. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated by academic performance and an attitudinal survey. Attitudes toward the prelab program were very positive, particularly for the e-quizzes. There was no improvement on academic performance in laboratory reports; however, students reported that the prelab material had a positive effect on their learning, and that they were able to enter the laboratory with high levels of perceived preparedness. Given that student experiences in the laboratory are arguably as important as assessable outcomes, an attitudinal study such as this is extremely important.



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