Next-generation Teaching Methods in Chemistry Classrooms - Do They Really Make a Difference?
As technology progresses, many educators seek to incorporate next-generation teaching methods into undergraduate chemistry courses. Chemistry classes require the mental manipulation of abstract ideas and college-level critical thinking abilities; for these reasons, proponents of alternative teaching methods see chemistry as a perfect testing ground for their tools. Advocates of these methods hail flipped lectures, concept maps, online homework systems, and clickers as the educational tools of the future. Many traditional lecturers, however, are hesitant to adopt these methods, questioning whether new technologies are truly as effective as claimed. Review of the current research found that some of these next-generation teaching methods made little to no impact on chemistry comprehension compared to traditional lectures and assignments, while others significantly improved accessibility and reduced student withdrawal rates. Nevertheless, although they may improve student and teacher experiences in other domains, the efficacy of some next-generation teaching methods have yet to impact long-term student success in undergraduate chemistry courses. This literature review critically assesses the efficacy of alternative teaching methods used in undergraduate chemistry education, and discusses the validity of claims that these methods definitively improve the student’s experience and long-term retention of chemistry.