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Factors related to observed attitude change toward learning chemistry among university students
Umeå University, Faculty of Teacher Education, Mathematics, Technology and Science Education. Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Chemistry.
2005 (English)In: Chemistry education, ISSN 1109-4028, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, Vol. 6, no 1, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To gain insight into factors associated with changes in attitude toward learning chemistry, six students who displayed major attitude changes were identified through a pre- and post-course attitude questionnaire administered to sixty-six first-year university chemistry students. Those with largest attitude changes, both positive and negative, were selected to highlight the contrast between students. The six students were interviewed; descriptions of their one-semester chemistry course experiences were analyzed to identify factors associated with their change in attitude. A positive attitude change was associated with evidence of motivated behaviour, while a negative change was linked to less motivated behaviour. Students addressed similar factors in the educational setting, but students with positive attitude changes exhibited fewer negative views of educational factors, while students with negative attitude changes showed an opposite pattern. Since the same factors, students’ perceived level of teacher empathy for their efforts at chemistry learning, affected both groups, this indicates a possibility for changes in educational setting beneficial to all students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Ioannina , 2005. Vol. 6, no 1, 1-18 p.
Keyword [en]
attitude change, motivation, university chemistry
National Category
Other Chemistry Topics Didactics Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-10356OAI: diva2:150027
Available from: 2008-08-22 Created: 2008-08-22 Last updated: 2011-03-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Learning Chemistry at the University level: Student attitudes, motivation, and design of the learning environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Learning Chemistry at the University level: Student attitudes, motivation, and design of the learning environment
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of the research this thesis is based upon was to study students’ attitudes towards learning chemistry at university level and their motivation from three perspectives. How can students’ attitudes towards learning chemistry be assessed? How can these attitudes be changed? How are learning situations experienced by students with different attitude positions?

An attitude questionnaire, assessing views of knowledge, learning assessments, laboratory activities, and perceived roles of instructors and student, was used to estimate students’ attitude positions. It was shown that a positive attitude was related to motivated student behaviour. Furthermore, it was shown that factors in the educational context, such as the teachers’ empathy for students learning chemistry, had affected the students. It was also found that students holding different attitude positions showed different learning outcomes and differed in their perceptions of the learning situation. Students’ holding a more relativistic attitude more readily accepted the challenges of open experiments and other more demanding tasks than those holding a dualistic attitude.

In addition, the teachers were found to play important roles in the way the tasks were perceived and the development of students’ ideas. In studied laboratory activities open tasks resulted in positive student engagement and learning outcomes. Preparative exercises, such as a computer simulation of the phenomena to be investigated, affected students’ focus during laboratory work, encouraging them to incorporate more theoretical considerations and increasing their ability to use chemical knowledge. Finally, it was shown that students’ focus during laboratory work is reflected in the questions they ask the teacher, implying that questions could be used as tools to evaluate laboratory teaching and learning processes.

The findings imply that students’ attitudes towards learning and motivation, and the design of learning situations, are key factors in the attainment of desirable higher educational goals such as the ability to judge, use, and develop knowledge. For universities encountering students with increasingly diverse attitudes, motivation and prior knowledge, these are important considerations if they are to fulfil their commissions to provide high quality learning environments and promote high quality learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, 2005. 47 p.
laboratory work, open experiments, attitude, university level, motivation, cognitive load, laboratory instruction styles, attitude change, design of learning situation, student questions.
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-589 (URN)91-7305-934-x (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-10-14, KB3A9, KBC huset, 13:00
Available from: 2005-09-15 Created: 2005-09-15 Last updated: 2012-05-10Bibliographically approved

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