Polymer Science in Action: Transforming the Learning Experience for Undergraduates with Active Learning Strategies
Keywords:active learning; undergraduate students; action research; practical guidelines
Active learning is a powerful teaching and learning approach that enhances students' capacity to construct understanding and apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. However, in university science classes, lectures remain the predominant method employed by instructors, primarily due to time constraints and limited familiarity with active learning strategies. This study aimed to explore practical guidelines for implementing active learning in undergraduate polymer science classrooms, as well as the perspectives of instructors and students on this approach and student satisfaction with active learning. The research involved two instructors and 34 second-year students from the Faculty of Science at a university based in Bangkok, Thailand. Data were collected through classroom observation, a student satisfaction questionnaire, and instructor and student interviews. Data were analyzed quantitatively, using means and standard deviations, as well as qualitatively, using content analysis. The study identified four practical guidelines for implementing active learning in the undergraduate polymer science classroom, which are: using a variety of active learning strategies and techniques that match the nature of students; providing helpful learning media and technology; using higher-level questioning to promote thinking processes; and linking authentic assessment and constructive feedback with real-life situations. These four guidelines proved effective for both on-site and online forms of learning. Furthermore, the students expressed very high satisfaction levels (M = 4.64, SD = 0.49) and positive opinions regarding active learning.
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