2020-07-30T17:19:46Z (GMT) by Elijah B Roth

Student-centered pedagogies have become increasingly popular in higher education. Research on flipped learning, in particular, has shown that collaborative problem-solving environments are able to better support effective learning than lecture alone. However, the effects of this format on students’ interests and motivations in chemistry remain unknown. For this study, students and graduate teaching assistants who participated in a flipped learning, second-semester general chemistry course were selected to participate in a focus group discussion and individual interviews that explored their experiences and perceptions of the features of the course (affordances) that supported and thwarted their sense of motivation.

This phenomenographic study mapped eight students’ experiences of the course and used qualitative data from interviews with the graduate teaching assistants (TAs) to compare and contrast with students’ claims. Self-determination theory was used to frame these experiences and the results were discussed using other relevant theories of motivation, including, but not limited to expectancy-value theory and achievement goal theories.

It was found that there are several features of the course that support students’ motivations according to the basic psychological needs of relatedness, autonomy, and competency in self-determination theory. The study also revealed many features of the course that thwarted students’ motivations. Features that students described as motivating left them feeling connected to their peers and other agents in the course, capable of efficiently interacting with their environments as a result of the course tasks, and a sense that their performance was related to their efforts. Features that students’ described as demotivating left them feeling helpless, incompetent, alone, and without a sense of control over their performance in the course.

The results of this study shed light on students’ perceptions of the environment in a flipped learning chemistry course. These findings can be used to improve students’ experiences, and consequently their motivation when taking a flipped learning chemistry course. Specific assertions developed from these results and recommendations for these improvements are further discussed.