Teacher and student engagement when using learning materials based on the context of cutting-edge chemistry research

Tim H.H. van Dulmen*, Talitha C. Visser, Birgit Pepin, Susan McKenney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Although cutting-edge chemistry research can be an interesting and motivating context for students in pre-university education, few characteristics of supportive and effective learning materials based on such contexts are available.

In this study we investigated the design, implementation, and evaluation of context-based learning materials for both teachers and students. Specifically, we studied the characteristics of learning materials situated in the context of cutting-edge chemistry research that are supportive (have educative and usable features) for teachers and effective (have features that foster understanding and motivation) for students.

The designed learning materials were piloted by three teachers in four tenth-grade pre-university chemistry classes at three schools in The Netherlands.

Design and methods
The learning materials are shaped by the 5E instructional model and are situated in the context of research on early cancer diagnosis. In this exploratory, small-scale, mixed-methods study, data on teacher and student use of these learning materials were collected through teacher and student group interviews, student pre- and post-tests, and learner self-reports.

This study shows that the piloted learning materials have features that are simultaneously supportive for teachers and effective for students. We identified several features that made the materials educative and usable for teachers, and that fostered student understanding and motivation.

We conclude that the cutting-edge research context used to situate the learning materials was valuable, and that the teachers in the study were eager to implement these types of materials in their regular practice. In addition, the materials contributed to student motivation and student understanding, and supported teacher learning. This study also describes crucial features that teachers and students valued in the design of the learning materials, which can help in designing other learning materials based on cutting-edge research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in science & technological education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 30 Apr 2022


  • Context-based learning
  • Cutting-edge research
  • Educative materials
  • Chemistry education
  • Student motivation
  • UT-Hybrid-D

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