- Visualizing phenomena that cannot be seen directly, such as the interactions of atoms and molecules, makes chemistry difficult for many students.
- Particulate level diagrams, and more recently animations and simulations can help students with these visualizations but each has pros and cons.
- Facilitating effective student interactions with simulations is particularly important with increased popularity of online learning environments that can use simulations as a tool to aid in independent student learning.
- Instructor led screencasts, videos in which an expert initially demonstrates how to use a particular simulation, may address some cons associated with student independent use of simulations.
This project compares students’ guided use of simulations with watching an expert led screencast for developing understanding of key chemistry concepts. In both cases, students work independently at home to complete an assignment.
- Simulation treatment: students complete scaffolded assignment that guides them through interaction with the simulation
- Screencast treatment: students complete the same assignment by first watching a parallel screencast then using the simulation
The figure below outlines our iterative research design process.