Learning outcomes of university chemistry teaching in laboratories: A systematic review of empirical literature

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Laboratory work has been a common element of science courses at university level for around two centuries, but its practice has been criticised by scholars in the field and related stakeholders. Mainly on a rationale of financial justification and educational efficacy, more evidence for learning has been called for. The aims of this systematic review were to substantiate learning outcomes associated with laboratory instructions in university chemistry, to characterise learning in the laboratory, and identify areas for future research. Synthesis of 355 empirical studies revealed that students develop five clusters of laboratory-related competences pertaining to Disciplinary learning, Experimental competences, Affective outcomes, Higher-order thinking and epistemic learning, as well as Transversal competences. These competences were specified into related constructs measured in the studies. Analysis of published studies led to a substantiated view on multidimensional learning in the laboratory and its implications for assessment and curriculum design are suggested. Representations of research areas that deserve appraisals and further investigations are also proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3360
JournalReview of Education
Issue number2
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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