Practical Work in Higher Level Chemistry Education

Bennett, S. W., Seery, M. K. and Sovegjarto-Wigbers, D. (2009) Practical Work in Higher Level Chemistry Education. In: Innovative Methods of Teaching and Learning Chemistry in Higher Education. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 87-103.


Practical work has an unassailable position in the study of chemistry and, as a consequence, its role, its relevance and most importantly, its nature have rarely been seriously questioned. This chapter seeks to examine what the traditional approach to practical work actually achieves and to expose some of its limitations. A distinction between exercise and experiment is made in the context of an analysis of possible approaches to practical work and ways for optimising the use of costly laboratory resources are suggested. A tighter correspondence between learning outcomes and practical activity can lead to improved and deeper learning as well as to better mapping to assessment.

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