Chapter 15: Building Bridges Between Tasks and Flasks—Design of a Coherent Experiment-supported Learning Environment for Deep Reasoning in Organic Chemistry1
Published:21 Dec 2022
We present here the design of a learning environment for deep causal mechanistic reasoning in introductory organic chemistry at a secondary and tertiary level. It features an approach to meaningful explanation construction, combining sound theoretical arguments with experiment-based evidence in contrastive learning opportunities on reaction mechanisms and underlying concepts. These learning opportunities are arranged by the type of reactants (σ electrophiles, π nucleophiles and π electrophiles), reaction patterns (elimination, substitution, addition, and multistep reactions) and overarching concepts (intermediate stability and electronic substituent effects), enabling variable learning pathways and interrelations between subject matters. Driven by the leitmotifs of exemplarity, contrastivity, process orientation, concept application, experiment-based evidence, and coherence, learning contents are depicted in a discrete way not only theoretically but also in experiments, each addressing one specific structure–reactivity relationship in-depth. Our approach provides custom in situ analytics for the monitoring of reactions' progress, which guide theoretical reasoning with instant evidence and open up new possibilities for intervention design. Consequently, we expect positive impacts on students' explanation strategies, which are crucial for structured knowledge construction in organic chemistry. In this chapter, we introduce the theoretical framework, design principles and exemplary developments, and outline implications for implementation and teaching.