Pogil - Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning

The project is funded under the National Science Foundation grant DUE-0717392.

Award Start Date: 10/01/2007
Award Expiration Date: 09/30/2011

Intellectual Merit

Research in the fields of education and cognitive neuroscience indicate that students learn best when they are actively engaged with the material and with each other.  Yet materials that support guided inquiry learning are not yet available for biochemistry. Contact with biochemistry instructors from a variety of institutions nationwide indicates that such materials would be utilized if made available. Minderhout and Loertscher have systematically designed, developed, and formatively assessed 30 classroom activities over nine years in their lecture-free biochemistry courses. These materials are now ready for dissemination to the wider biochemistry community. Prior to publication the activities will be beta-tested and assessed in a diversity of classrooms by faculty who are experienced with active learning strategies.

Upon completion of beta-testing, materials will be published and disseminated through presentations and workshops. A detailed evaluation plan has been developed to ensure that beta-testing of activities results in widely applicable materials that have been shown to help students achieve fundamental biochemistry learning outcomes. The dissemination process will also be evaluated in order to promote adoption of materials by a large and diverse community of upper-level biochemistry instructors nationwide. Minderhout and Loertscher are uniquely qualified to provide these resources to the larger biochemistry community.   Between them they have presented posters, given talks, and published on the topics of lecture-free biochemistry, classroom facilitation and techniques for coaching high-level problem solving. Currently they are national workshop facilitators for the POGIL project and Minderhout serves on the POGIL steering committee.  

Broader Impact

This project will help transform the way undergraduate biochemistry is taught in the classroom and will have a broad impact on the STEM community. Faculty in undergraduate chemistry, biochemistry, and biology departments nationwide will have access to materials never before available, and workshop participants will be trained and empowered to make real changes in the way they teach. The extensive evaluation of materials prior to publication will ensure that they are useful to a broad range of instructors and students and that they truly help students achieve fundamental learning outcomes in biochemistry. Most importantly, biochemistry students will benefit from exposure to a teaching style that makes use of the best teaching practices as defined by research in education and cognitive neuroscience

 Foundations of Biochemistry. 3rd ed. J. Loertscher and V. Minderhout. Lisle, IL: Pacific Crest, 2011.