Cooperative Learning in Large Sections of Organic Chemistry: Transitioning to POGIL
A brief review of recent literature describing cooperative learning in organic chemistry, and the use of POGIL in particular, is presented. A case study of the steps one instructor took to implement the POGIL pedagogy will be outlined along with instructor reflections on the overall experience. Examples of outcomes from experiments comparing cooperative learning sections to lecture sections will be reviewed and expanded. Differences in learning between the participants in the experimental (cooperative learning) and control (lecture format) groups have been found in three key areas: (1) psychological affect variables, (2) development of transferable skills, and (3) self-reported gains in key organic chemistry content areas. Comparison of the two groups in terms of their elucidation of molecular structures from spectroscopy data will be discussed. When compared to the lecture group, students in the cooperative learning group self-reported higher gains in skills, and this was confirmed using a direct measure: performance on free response spectroscopy problems on the final exam. Indeed, the cooperative learning group scored higher than the lecture group on these spectroscopy free response exam problems, and this difference between the scores of the two groups was statistically significant.