Student-centred active learning approaches to teaching quantum chemistry and spectroscopy: quantitative results from a two-year action research study
In this article, I propose a student-centred approach to teaching quantum chemistry and spectroscopy at the bachelor-level that extends active learning principles outside course lectures. The aim is to elucidate what type of methodology is most appropriate and efficient for this context and student population, and how this incorporation of active learning elements impacts learning. Three quantitative learning indicators are used to measure the effectiveness of the proposed approach, including exercise points obtained by the students, exam results, and the results of a conceptual inventory administered both at the beginning and the end of the course. The proposed model resulted in substantial improvement in learning outcomes compared to a previous class where active learning elements were confined mostly to the course lectures and a traditionally taught class. The model can be generalised to any subject where both quantitative and qualitative understanding is required. Thus, in addition to providing further support for the effectiveness of active learning approaches in science, this study shows the benefits of applying these approaches to exercises and other course tasks besides lectures.