Source: Drew Hays on Unsplash
OrgChem101 uses mastery-based learning to help learners consolidate important foundational pieces of content in chemistry. The modules pinpoint areas of study and offer theoretical and practical activities to learners to help them succeed. There are three modules: nomenclature, mechanisms, and acid-based reactions.
Why We Set Out to Build This Resource
We wanted to offer learners the opportunity to get a good grasp of the theory behind some foundational pieces of organic chemistry, such as organic chemistry nomenclature, which is difficult to learn. Our idea was to give learners control of their learning path by having them choose categories and sections of the modules. This would then trigger a test to assess their strengths and weakness. After completing this exercise, learners can choose which path they prefer and go on to the various activities.
How We Did It
Through some funding and a lot of hard work, we were able to launch OrgChem101 in 2012. We designed the modules with input from the learners from the start to understand how they preferred the resource to be created and how the experience would be engaging to them.
The technology is driven by a number of tools and functionalities. With the help of various partnerships, we were able to develop the modules using quality content and deliver an optimal user experience. The modules are interactive in nature with many practical exercises, making them very different from the usual text-based resources.
The resource is hosted by the University of Ottawa and has a dedicated programmer who built the infrastructure that supports the modules. This has enabled us to create a unique environment that is tailored to our needs. This being said, we have found that it bit more difficult to maintain and to evolve than we envisioned.
To date, more than 20,000 learners have used OrgChem101 as part of their learning journey. A research project has been published showing the learning gains from participants using the nomenclature module, and future research projects are expected on the mechanisms and the acid-based reactions modules.
OrgChem101 is built as a bilingual resource facilitating access to both French and English learners. OrgChem101 is openly available to all and is used as part of curriculum by some chemistry courses at the University of Ottawa.
Alison Flynn, University of Ottawa