International Journal of Designs for Learning
The concept of chemical bonding is abstract and perceived as difficult. While it is a fundamental concept required to comprehend other chemistry topics, the learning outcomes are not always attained. Addressing this issue, our challenge was to create a learning intervention regarding a common, fundamental chemistry concept for students in a variety of undergraduate chemistry courses. We envisioned a learning product that invites students’ interest yet is challenging. This design case discusses the process, the literature that informs our design decisions, and strategies incorporated into the design of a learning object entitled Making Molecules: Dot Structures and Ionic Compounds to mitigate the learning issue. Discussion on the context of the project, design and development strategies, evaluation, and project reflection is presented as well.
In today’s complex world, the acquisition of research skills is considered an important goal in education. Consequently, there is a growing body of literature that recognizes the value of well-designed learning environments for effectively supporting the development of this complex set of skills. However, a clear consensus on how these research skills can be facilitated is currently lacking, and the design processes underlying the learning environments aiming to foster students’ research skills are not always clearly outlined. Furthermore, interventions aiming to foster these skills are often implemented in the domains of physics, biology, and chemistry, while other domains (such as behavioral and social sciences domains) remain understudied. In addition, current approaches to foster research skills often refer to only a few epistemic activities (Fischer et al., 2014) related to research skills. Inspired by a design-based research approach, this design effort case seeks to clearly explain the design considerations for, and the development of an online learning environment aiming to foster upper secondary school students’ research skills in a behavioral sciences context. The online learning environment (RISSC or Research In Social SCiences) consists of a lesson series designed based on a systematic approach to four-component instructional design (van Merriënboer & Kirschner, 2018), and was piloted with two different cohorts in upper secondary education and in first year of university.
This design case documents the motivations, decisions, and results of an experimental course that involved students in the curriculum development process through the use of design thinking methodology. Primary points of student input were determining assignment topics, developing learning objectives, and contributing to the design of grading assessment. The case also examines the student experience and provides a detailed evaluation of the process, including an assessment of the benefits of the approach and a dissection of the unforeseen obstacles in the design process. In this investigation into the intention and execution of the course, educators may find the inspiration and framework to adapt this approach for their own courses.