Chemversity is a web-based, interactive learning platform built for chemistry education. Chemversity was designed to enhance the learning experience by providing students interactive elements and multiple representations of important chemical principles to supplement text-based information. Users are also provided multiple ways of navigating through the learning system, allowing them to access the information as needed. In the current prototypic version, users can explore the underlying concepts that drive the molecular phenomenon fluorescence. Later versions of the tool will feature an expanded selection of topics and functionality, including progress-tracking, rewards, and buddy systems.
Chemversity utilizes several teaching strategies to engage its learners including instructional analogies. Naïve learners use analogies involving known systems to transfer a base-level of understanding to novel concepts. Unfortunately, analogies can also lead to misconceptions when inconsistent aspects of the analogous system are mistakenly applied to new principles. We wanted to investigate the effectiveness of a novel analogy for explaining the energy of atom in a bond. Furthermore, we wanted to assess the performance of the analogy within the Chemversity interactive platform. We conducted a study with third-year university students who interacted with two distinct analogy systems both related to the potential energy of bonded atoms. The results from the study highlighted the potential for developing new analogies to be hosted on e-learning platforms while also stressing the importance of evaluating visualizations to ensure that the most important information is transferred.
Want to know more? Read our publication here or check out our poster.