The Impact of Technology-Assisted "scaffolding" on Student Learning in General Chemistry

Madhu Mahalingam, Elisabeth A. Morlino, Elisabetta Fasella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We describe a pedagogy using technology as "scaffolding" to elevate student learning and problem solving to higher cognitive levels in general chemistry. The scaffolding for student learning is achieved, in both face-to-face and online environments, with the help of technology and small group learning. Interweaving asynchronous online learning, in the form of online homework and timed online quizzes, with face-to-face learning that incorporates the use of "clickers" and peer discussion, enables us to transition students' knowledge and problem solving to higher levels on Bloom's taxonomy. Specifically, this scaffolding approach enables student learning to progress from Level 1 skills (recall, reproduce, state) to Level 2 (explain, classify, recognize) using a combination of online and face-to-face activities, and then to Level 3 higher-order thinking skills (application, interpretation, comparison) through group problem solving in recitation. The timing of the asynchronous activities provides students with opportunities to engage with the material independently, with instant feedback, thereby preparing each student for problems that are designed to promote higher-level thinking skills in general chemistry in a face-to-face recitation. The most significant outcome of implementing this model has been a 20% decrease in D and F grades on general chemistry exams even while the percentage of questions higher than Level 1 has almost doubled from 34.3% to 64.6%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalACS Symposium Series
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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