Gwen Lawrie webinar – 27th March

In March, our webinar was delivered by Gwen Lawrie, University of Queensland, on the topic: Scaffolding learning with multiple representations in hybrid environments. 


As we step further as chemistry educators into the world of hybrid learning environments, our instructional design needs be closely informed by the large body of research on visualisation, multiple representations and multimedia learning. This challenge is particularly important when students are expected to learn in a self-regulated way from the array of resources that we assemble. It is tempting to assume that students, who typically have substantial experience using online media, also possess skills that enable them to rapidly translate between 2D and 3D representations of chemical structures and systems.

In this presentation, I will share some of our research into how students use digital resources to learn chemistry concepts in combination with other modalities. We are finding that their representational competencies in chemistry require careful scaffolding in terms of students’ observation of formalisms and attention to representational cues. I will also highlight some insights into their thinking that have been captured through digital tools and our reconsideration of assessment of learning. Our challenge as educators is to develop inclusive learning environments that scaffold students with a range of pre-existing mental models in the process of recognizing, transforming, connecting and constructing representations. I welcome participants thoughts as I share some of our work and we consider digital learning spaces together.


Gwen Lawrie is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB) at The University of Queensland (UQ). As Director of First Year Chemistry Curriculum and Assessment between 2012-18, Gwen has led the implementation of a new first year chemistry program that embeds inclusive practices and flexibility to address student diversity in learning. Gwen’s research has a strong focus on exploring how students learn through multimodal representations, student-generated explanations and provision of formative feedback using digital media. Her research is also situated at the nexus between education research and teaching practice which has developed her strong interest in tertiary chemistry pedagogical content knowledge and reflective practice.

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