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ERIC Number: EJ1104114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Promoting Representational Competence with Molecular Models in Organic Chemistry
Stull, Andrew T.; Gainer, Morgan; Padalkar, Shamin; Hegarty, Mary
Journal of Chemical Education, v93 n6 p994-1001 Jun 2016
Mastering the many different diagrammatic representations of molecules used in organic chemistry is challenging for students. This article summarizes recent research showing that manipulating 3-D molecular models can facilitate the understanding and use of these representations. Results indicate that students are more successful in translating between diagrams when they have models available, that using a model to enact the translation process in the world is predictive of learning, and that using models as feedback (to check the accuracy of diagram translation) is particularly effective. Model-based feedback is superior to verbal feedback alone, models scaffold learning rather than act as a crutch, learning with model-based instruction is resilient over a delay of several days, and learning with models transfers to performance when models are no longer available. Finally, virtual models are equivalent to hand-held models in promoting learning in the studied contexts.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1008650; 1252346