Research into practice: Visualising the molecular world using a cognitive learning model


  • Roy Tasker


My early experience with students, confirmed by the chemical education literature, indicated student misconceptions and difficulties in chemistry stem from an inability to visualize the invisible molecular world. To address this challenge I developed an integrated suite of molecular-level animations in our VisChem project in the mid-90s. However, I quickly realised that you cannot change a student’s mental model at this level by simply showing animations that portray our expert models of this world, and then just expect novices to adopt them for understanding chemistry concepts. This started my journey to develop and evaluate learning designs (Tasker & Dalton, 2006) to enable students to engage with and learn from multimedia resources, based on an information-processing model consistent with the latest research in cognitive science. The most successful learning design is demonstrated here – REFERENCES Tasker, R., & Dalton, R. (2006). Research into Practice: Visualisation of the Molecular World Using Animations. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 7(2), 141 - 159. Retrieved August 31, 2013,