A hurdle too high? Students’ experience of a PBL laboratory module
The experience of a cohort of students enrolled in a Year 1 chemistry laboratory module delivered through a problem-based learning approach was studied. The methodology involved both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. The results show that students had a very positive attitude toward the PBL approach.The data suggests that a high proportion of students felt that learning and enjoyment in the PBL laboratory were better than in the traditional laboratory. Furthermore, by the end of the module, 83% of students indicated a preference for the PBL approach, and a similar percentage indicated they would choose to continue this alternative approach into their second year. The study also suggests that those who have little background in chemistry struggle more with the alternative approach at first, but over time the difference is reduced. Ability to do calculations is found to be a significant factor in whether students prefer the traditional or PBL approach.