Practical work in university chemistry: aims and outcomes
Gunter, Christopher E.
The purpose of this research was to identify and gain insight into factors that affect learning in undergraduate chemistry practical work. A case study was conducted with a ‘typical’undergraduate student selected from the first year chemistry major class at the University of the Witwatersrand (W ITS). A number of factors were found to affect the learning that took place and the insight gained was used to make recommendations to the WITS Chemistry Department about how to facilitate more meaningful learning in their undergraduate laboratory sessions.Many of the aims for science practical work were revised and various teaching strategies to realise the different aims were put forward. When categorising the different types of lab activities using the traditional classification system of ‘verification’, ‘guided inquiry’ and ‘open inquiry’, it was found that this system was insufficient. An additional type of lab activity was,thus, identified and named a ‘procedural’ lab session.