Changes in visual/spatial and analytic strategy use in organic chemistry with the development of expertise

Maria Vlacholia, Stella Vosniadou, Petros Roussos, Katerina Salta, Smaragda Kazi, Michael Sigalas, Chryssa Tzougraki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present two studies that investigated the adoption of visual/spatial and analytic strategies by individuals at different levels of expertise in the area of organic chemistry, using the Visual Analytic Chemistry Task (VACT). The VACT allows the direct detection of analytic strategy use without drawing inferences about underlying mental processes. The first study examined the psychometric properties of the VACT and revealed a structure consistent with the hypothesis that it consists of two sub-scales: visual/spatial and analytic. The second study investigated the performance of 285 participants with various levels of expertise in organic chemistry on the VACT. The results showed that the adoption of analytic strategies in organic chemistry, and specifically in molecular structure, was difficult and was systematically used only by the more expert participants. The implications of this research for the teaching of chemistry are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalChemistry Education Research and Practice
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017

Keywords

  • spatial ability
  • Chemistry
  • visual strategies
  • analytical strategies

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