Understanding the Use of Student-Centered Teaching Methods in Undergraduate Chemistry Courses

  • Ryan J. YoderEmail author
  • Donna Bobbitt-Zeher
  • Vanessa Sawicki


A growing body of research suggests that student-centered teaching methods are associated with positive learning outcomes for undergraduate students. Yet, the extent of their use and factors leading to their adoption in fields, such as chemistry, continue to be under-explored. Utilizing survey data collected during 2015, we begin to fill this gap, first by considering the degree to which faculty and instructors use and plan to use various student-centered teaching methods in their undergraduate chemistry courses. Then, we examine three potential factors that may help us understand variation in (1) use of and (2) intentions to implement student-centered methods: attitudes toward teaching methods; teaching approaches; and institutional characteristics. Importantly, our findings suggest attitudes and individual teaching approaches are significant predictors of the use and intention to implement student-centered methods in the classroom. Perhaps surprisingly, several institutional factors examined (such as class size, percentage of time spent teaching, and type of institution) play no significant role. Given the positive student outcomes associated with various student-centered methods reported in literature, these findings suggest potential avenues for faculty and instructors’ professional development toward further implementation of these methods.


Student-centered approaches Teaching methods Undergraduate teaching Science education Attitudes Chemistry 



The study herein was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at The Ohio State University. We thank Mickey Rogers for assisting in data collection as well as all of the participants for volunteering their time in completing our survey.

Supporting Information

Correlation Table, Alternative Regression Models Predicting Number of Student-Centered Methods Used; Alternative Regression Models Predicting Number of Student-Centered Methods Intended to Implement

Funding Information

Funding for this project was provided through the College of Arts & Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryThe Ohio State UniversityMarionUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyThe Ohio State UniversityMarionUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityMarionUSA

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