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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 1 (2007) pp 47-50

A Step toward Cognitive Autonomy in a Hybrid PBL Experience

Patricia Morales Bueno

Research and Strategies Development in Chemical Education Group (GIDEEQ). Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Science Department, Chemistry Section. Av. Universitaria cuadra 18 s/n, San Miguel, Lima 32, Perú,

Published online: 1 February 2007

Abstract. This article reports the results of a study about the effect on student learning by changing the structure and nature of learning activities in a hybrid Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model. The model was implemented in the “Thermodynamic Aspects of Chemical Processes” unit in a general chemistry course at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The typical structure for this unit, using the hybrid PBL model, follows a linear content sequence with structured activities and frequent professor interventions via mini-lectures. In the new model, the students were given opportunities to manage the information that was being presented, to share and discuss their ideas about the information, to develop concept maps, and to apply what they learned to tasks that involved the proposal of differing solutions. The main purpose of this change was to foster cognitive autonomy in the classroom. The predictive capacity of students’ learning activity and PBL problem scores showed a much greater correlation between the learning activity scores and the individual final test scores for the group that followed the new PBL plan. Moreover, the engagement level in the PBL problems was more significant, which was reflected in the inclusion of the PBL problem scores as a predictive variable in linear regression analysis. These results show that for learning activities in which cognitive autonomy is supported, the development of abilities promoted by PBL are enhanced, even though the students do not have previous experience in this type of methodology.

Key Words: Of Special Interest; general chemistry; introductory chemistry; international; first-year chemistry; diversity; laboratory; placement; assessment; ICUC

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Issue date: February 1, 2007

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