Sustaining Change - what happens after a research project

Finlayson, Odilla, Lovatt, James and O'Malley, Pat (2011) Sustaining Change - what happens after a research project. [Conference Proceedings]


Many research papers in science education focus on addressing particular practice issues and report positively on the effects of a particular intervention or change in practice. Most frequently, the effects of the changes in practice reported, based on past research literature, have positive effects on student learning. However, the question arises as to what happens after the research study has been completed? Are these practice changes maintained and are the benefits for student learning also maintained? This paper address this question of whether changes can be maintained after the initial enthusiasm for the research project has died down. Two of the authors, who were involved in a research project, addressed the development of a first year chemistry laboratory aimed at increasing student engagement and ultimately in making the laboratory a positive learning experience for all students. Many elements were introduced into the laboratory practice including small group tutoring, tutor assessment of students by in- lab questioning, notebook maintenance. Specific activities were focused on skill development, development of central concepts and problem-based activities. Student learning was evaluated when this laboratory was implemented. This laboratory has now been run by different people over the intervening 4 years - so it is interesting to determine how particular aspects has changed and if the central construct of the laboratory has been maintained.

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