What Works in Chemistry Classrooms? UCLA Says JoVE

Marc Songini, JoVE Writer | 7 min read
Marc Songini, JoVE Writer | 7 min read

College students face many challenges: In fact, 40 percent of those planning to graduate in science or engineering switch majors or fail to actually finish their bachelor’s degrees, as a New York Times article notes.

Competition in the scientific fields is fierce and the subject matter is challenging. But this attrition in graduates is a drain on the future science talent pool, not to mention a loss of invested educational resources.

Now, a UCLA research team lead by Dr. Roshini Ramachandran has some positive news. The team published an article in the Journal of Chemical Education that demonstrates JoVE Science Education videos improve undergrad chemistry student subject comprehension and performance.

JoVE Videos: Building Conceptual Foundations

While there are a variety of STEM-related video platforms and resources available, from Youtube to do-it-yourself websites, JoVE stands out. Its videos “bridge the gap between conceptual understanding and its relevant application by implementing an “Experiment Component” into its videos,” states the article.

“Using these [JoVE] videos in the course significantly improved student learning and reinforced conceptual understanding for important foundational concepts.” As part of the research, the UCLA team investigated two sets of students in 2018 (177 students in a spring quarter class and 324 for a winter quarter class).

Student responses to the value survey question on whether the video made it easier for them to understand the topic. *

The students all used JoVE’s Science Education Chemistry Series focusing on four key areas (as shown in the graphic above):   

  1. Enthalpy
  2. Entropy
  3. Rate laws
  4. Le Chatelier’s principle  

In each case, more than half of students found JoVE videos made it easier to understand the topic in question. For most of the topics, this number rose to 80 percent or more. The evidence demonstrates JoVE Science Education videos are a valuable learning and teaching resource.

Comparison of pretest and posttest quiz scores in winter
2018 (W18) and spring 2018 (S18) for the JoVE Science Education
videos on Le Châtelier’s principle. The topic in this video was learned
in a previous general chemistry course.*

Powerful STEM Teaching Foundation

This supports previous research (only biology-focused) that JoVE Science Education boosts student learning outcomes. According to a prior study conducted at DeSales University and Clemson University, students using JoVE videos scored up to 200 percent better in pre-lab exams than those who just used text handouts.

And we continue to build out our Science Education Library: We recently added a new JoVE Lab Manual Series, Introductory Biology I+II. More titles are coming in such disciplines as aeronautics, microbiology, and cancer biology.

JoVE’s goal is to improve how science is taught and done in the classroom and lab. This UCLA study offers more proof that we are succeeding.

* Ramachandran, R.; Sparck, E.; Levis-Fitzgerald, M.Investigating the Effectiveness of Using Application-Based Science Education Videos in a General Chemistry Lecture Course. J. Chem. Educ. 2019. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00777

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