How should stepped supporting tools be designed to support non-major chemistry students while solving tasks in organic chemistry - results of a think-aloud study.


  • Jolanda Hermanns Zentrum für Lehrerbildung und Bildungsforschung und Institut für Chemie der Universität Potsdam



non-major chemistry students, organic chemsitry, self-regulated learning, scaffolding.


In this article the use of stepped supporting tools by non-major chemistry students will be discussed. The students used this scaffold while solving a task on the electrophilic addition on the double bond. To know how the students proceed a think-aloud study with ten students was conducted and will be discussed here. The results show that the students are then successful in solving the task if they have sufficient prior knowledge and methodical skills. When they lack these knowledge or methodical skills the stepped supporting tools can only partly support the students.

Background: Scaffolding for supporting students while learning chemistry is described in the literature (Taber, 2002; Livengood, 2012; Hermanns, 2019). For non-major chemistry students stepped supporting tools were developed. The use of these tools were investigated in a think-aloud study.

Purpose: The results of the think-aloud study should be used for the future design of stepped supporting tools or another scaffold.

Sample/Setting: Ten non-major chemistry students who study life sciences or nutritional science participated in the think-aloud study on the use of stepped supporting tools.

Design Methods: A qualitative (think-aloud study) method was used.

Results: The stepped supporting tools are helpful when sufficient prior knowledge and methodical skills were available.

Conclusions/Implications for classroom practice and future research: The new design of the scaffolds should provide the required prior knowledge that is needed as well as methodological strategies for the task at hand.

Keywords: non-major chemistry students, organic chemistry, self-regulated learning, scaffolding.



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