Meaningful Learning in the Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory: The Gap between Faculty Expectations and Students' Experiences
Stacey Lowery Bretz
University Distinguished Professor, Miami University.
Data that demonstrates student learning in the undergraduate chemistry laboratory is scarce. Most laboratory experiences consist of students confirming principles presented in lecture or their textbook. For meaningful learning to occur, students must actively integrate both cognitive and affective learning into the doing of chemistry. While the psychomotor domain is readily observed in the teaching laboratory, evidence of cognitive and affective learning remains elusive. The Meaningful Learning in the Laboratory Instrument (MLLI) was designed to measure students' cognitive and affective expectations and experiences within the context of conducting experiments in the undergraduate chemistry laboratory. MLLI data has been collected in multiple cross-sectional and longitudinal studies for general chemistry and organic chemistry students. Recently, the faculty who teach general chemistry and organic chemistry laboratory courses at every institution with a curriculum approved by the American Chemical Society were invited to complete the MLLI to reflect their expectations about their own students' cognitive and affective experiences. Findings regarding the gap between faculty expectations and students' experiences will be reported.