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ERIC Number: EJ1108417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Laboratory Instrumentation: An Exploration of the Impact of Instrumentation on Student Learning
Warner, Don L.; Brown, Eric C.; Shadle, Susan E.
Journal of Chemical Education, v93 n7 p1223-1231 Jul 2016
Academic programs generally work to make their laboratory curriculum both as instrumentation rich and up to date as possible. However, little is known about the relationship between the use of instrumentation in the curriculum and student learning. As part of our department's ongoing assessment efforts, a project was designed to probe this relationship. Two aspects of the laboratory curriculum, explicitly tied to instrumentation, were the focus: technical competence with instrumentation and the ability of students to use instrumentation to solve chemical problems. Student survey responses and their scores on a practicum task were used to explore the relationship between instrument use and these outcomes. Results suggest that hands-on use of instruments matters. While emphasis on instrumentation in the lecture appears to increase perceived familiarity, more direct use in the laboratory translates into more technical knowledge. However, more exposure to instruments in the laboratory does not necessarily result in better problem solving skills. The introduction of new (to the students) instruments, combined with a guided inquiry approach, seem to improve this outcome. If educators want students to use instruments to problem solve like chemists, then it is important to explicitly support the development of this skill.
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
Identifiers - Location: Idaho (Boise)
Grant or Contract Numbers: 0737128