Evaluating students’ learning gains, strategies, and errors using OrgChem101’s Module: Organic Mechanisms — Mastering the arrows
We developed an online learning module called “Organic Mechanisms: Mastering the Arrows” to help students learn part of organic chemistry’s language—the electron-pushing formalism. The module guides students to learn and practice the electron-pushing formalism using a combination of interactive videos, questions with instant feedback, and metacognitive skill-building opportunities. This module is part of OrgChem101.com, an open educational resource (OER) that houses a series of learning modules. To evaluate the mechanism module’s effects on students’ learning and experiences, we offered a workshop during which undergraduate students used the module. We investigated their learning gains via a pre-test and post-test format and their experiences using a survey. Analysis of responses revealed significant learning gains between the pre- and post-test, especially with questions that asked students to draw the products of a reaction. After using the learning tool, students used more analysis strategies, such as mapping, attempted more questions, and made fewer errors. The students reported positive experiences and a belief that the module would help them in their organic chemistry courses. Previous work also identified greater metacognitive skills after using the module, related to the module’s intended learning outcomes. Herein, we describe the module, evaluation study, findings, and implications for research and practice.