Students’ experience in chemistry laboratory: conceptualising the role of chemistry laboratory learning from students’ end and developing the schema of student needs
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date12/12/2023
Laboratory work is a unique aspect of science education and an important component of the curriculum in tertiary chemistry education. Practitioners and researchers have described the undergraduate laboratory as a complex learning environment that can foster multiple advantages in the development of scientist students beyond just enhancing the understanding of chemical concepts while developing experimental skills. However, when course designers consider improving the student's learning experience and learning outcomes, insufficient insights into the theoretical framework and empirical evidence of students’ laboratory learning experience can be found from the current literature and research, particularly on how students recognise the role of laboratory learning, and how to identify students’ needs through laboratory learning. In this research, the focus from the faculty side is shifted to the student side, investigating students’ experience by stages - preparation, in-laboratory hours, and post-laboratory learning; analysing their views on the roles of laboratory work, and developing a schema derived from Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs for examining students’ needs. The research design adopted a mixed-methods research paradigm. The data presentation framework borrowed the idea from Bloom’s revised taxonomy – four categories of knowledge- and transferred them into four categories of evidence for organising the answers to research questions. Results depicted an overall picture of students’ experience in the laboratory, and revealed the impact of a few critical elements on students’ experience during laboratory learning stages. It was also found that students’ conceptualisation of the role of the laboratory was broader than just scientific skills training, but also encompassed their development in affective domains, transferable skills and future career considerations – in which way can become the supplementary evidence supporting the rationale of laboratory work as an indispensable and integral part of chemistry education. A significant result of this research is presenting a schema of student needs and its early-stage examinations with supporting evidence from students’ views. This preliminary exploration can provide curriculum designers with a useful tool for design guidelines while further considering student experience and needs of laboratory learning, and also benefits practitioners to characterise and facilitate students’ learning motivations.
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