Integrating learning objects into D2L to promote student learning of difficult scientific concepts

Conference Paper

Advancements in computers, educational technologies, and broadband Internet bring new opportunities for chemistry educators and learners. This presentation will introduce a valid and reliable method to effectively develop and easily deploy learning objects (i.e. Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)) in context of physical chemistry (PChem) course at DePaul University. The pedagogical method for developing the learning objects relies on Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) principles (AAAS, 1993; NRC, 2000). The deployment platform for the learning objects is D2L, in the context of an upper-level chemistry course (CHE302, Quantum Chemistry) at DePaul University.

This interactive session will focus on the development of a learning object dealing with the “particle in a box” (PIAB) model of quantum mechanics. This model, which is used to describe a quantum mechanical particle confined to a region in space, is often the first model students are introduced to in CHE302. In the co-requisite laboratory course (CHE303, Experimental Physical Chemistry I), the students perform a complementary experiment on a set of dye molecules, which can be modeled using the PIAB. Students collect and analyze an ultraviolet-visible light (UV-Vis) spectrum for each dye molecule in order to determine the wavelength of maximum absorbance. This wavelength, which depends on the length of the dye molecule, can be predicted using the PIAB model. As with any model, the PIAB is an idealized situation compared to those seen in real-life applications. This adds a further complication for students when trying to not only better understand the PIAB model, but also make sense of their experimental data.

We discuss the development of a learning object that focuses on the critical steps and conceptual underpinning of this experiment. Students would complete this “virtual experiment” before entering the laboratory. Students will be guided by the system as they walk through some predictive questions and simulations that will better prepare them to successfully perform this experiment. While learning objects are well-positioned to foster the strengthening of connections between the classroom and the laboratory, they are not limited to experimental applications. Their versatility in terms of context, structure, and design is a major advantage for students and instructors alike. The system not only walks the students through the activity but also grades their responses with feedback as they progress, which provides an out-of-classroom opportunity for student self-learning. By the end of this interactive session, attendees will better understand both the underlying educational framework and the design process of these learn- ing objects. Attendees will also work through the PIAB learning object, gaining first-hand knowledge of the student experience regarding learning objects.

Outline:

  • Conceptual presentation about designing learning objects (∼5 mins)
  • Conceptual presentation about Inquiry-Based Science Education (∼5 mins)
  • Conceptual presentation about BIAB (∼5 mins)
  • Experiencing the learning objects (∼10 mins)
  • Conclusion (∼5 mins)

References

AAAS. (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/tools/benchol/bolintro.htm

NRC. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Publication Details
Cite as: Kahveci M & French T. (2017). Integrating learning objects into D2L to promote student learning of difficult scientific concepts. Paper presented at DePaul University Teaching and Learning Conference. Chicago, IL, USA. May 5, 2017.