Cognitive apprenticeship as a vehicle for enhancing the understanding and functionalization of organic chemistry knowledge
This paper presents a pedagogical experiment with parallel groups through which the effectiveness of the cognitive apprenticeship model of dealing with the teaching topic Carboxylic acids and their derivatives was compared with the traditional approach to the elaboration of this topic. This experiment featured the participation of 241 students aged 17, attending their third year of grammar school, natural sciences stream. The experimental group consisted of 118 students, whereas the control group was made up of 123 students. Within the framework of the experiment, a pre-test consisting of items that resembled regular textbook items was used as an instrument for checking how balanced the previously acquired knowledge concerning the teaching topic Carboxylic acids and their derivatives of the students in the two groups was. A post-test was used as an instrument for comparing the effectiveness of the two approaches, and it mostly consisted of items that required the application of the knowledge concerning the teaching topic Carboxylic acids and their derivatives in solving real-life problems. In the pre-test, no statistically significant difference in the overall percentage of correct answers given by the two groups of students was established. In the post-test, the students from the experimental group scored a statistically significant higher percentage of correct answers compared to the students from the control group. On the basis of this, it can be concluded that the applied cognitive apprenticeship approach has the potential to improve the level of students’ understanding of the concepts from the topic Carboxylic acids and their derivatives, as well as the students’ ability to apply the knowledge on the examples from real life.