A1 Journal article (refereed)
Student experiences of project-based learning in an analytical chemistry laboratory course in higher education (2021)

Matilainen, R., Nuora, P., & Valto, P. (2021). Student experiences of project-based learning in an analytical chemistry laboratory course in higher education. Chemistry Teacher International, 3(3), 229-238. https://doi.org/10.1515/cti-2020-0032

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Matilainen, Rose; Nuora, Piia; Valto, Piia

Journal or series: Chemistry Teacher International

eISSN: 2569-3263

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 3

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 229-238

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cti-2020-0032

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72930


This study describes students’ experiences in project-based learning (PjBL) incorporated as part of a revised undergraduate analytical chemistry laboratory course. We examined which phases were the easiest as well as the most challenging and what student skills developed during the research project. The research data were collected between 2016 and 2018 via two questionnaires. They were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. One questionnaire focused on the whole course (in 2016–2018, n = 127) of which only the answers on the research project questions were analyzed. The other questionnaire focused on only the research project (in 2018, n = 42). Based on the results of our study, students felt that the research project was useful for their future laboratory experiments. Several sets working life skills as well as self-assessment skills were also developed during the project. These included skills related to laboratory work, group working, planning the research, problem solving and data collection. The students named the easiest phases to be the concrete laboratory experiments, making the seminar presentation, drawing up the research plan and reporting the results. As the most challenging phases, they named the design phase of the project, challenges related to experimental works and data collection. For example, students experienced uncertainty when gathering information and the whole project appeared challenging during the design phase. However, when students started to work, they saw that the work progressed smoothly if they had designed it well. When students have an opportunity to create their own research project, they acquire meaningful learning experiences.

Keywords: analytical chemistry; laboratory work; higher education (teaching); project learning; research projects; learning experiences

Free keywords: analytical chemistry laboratory course; project-based learning; research project; students’ experiences

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Last updated on 2022-04-01 at 09:07