Published In

Journal of Chemical Education

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Chemistry -- Study and teaching (Higher), Active learning, Motivation in education -- United States, Educational innovations -- United States, Action research in education -- United States


Although active learning strategies are being incorporated into many higher-education STEM courses, not all students benefit from these activities to the same extent. As these types of activities are designed to engage students in their learning, differences in student engagement may explain some of the differences in learning outcomes. However, before student engagement in active learning activities can be meaningfully measured using a self-report survey, it is important to evaluate if students perceive engagement similarly to the literature definitions on which these measures are based. Therefore, this study sought to explore students’ perceptions of the behavioral, cognitive, and emotional dimensions of engagement with respect to specific worksheet activities incorporated into a general chemistry course. This was completed through the use of open-ended written responses and interviews. Results indicated that although students generally perceived behavioral, cognitive, and emotional engagement similarly to the literature definitions of these dimensions, students tended to conflate many ideas of behavioral and cognitive engagement. Additionally, social themes were also discovered to be threaded throughout student responses to the three dimensions of engagement, suggesting students also perceived the presence of a social engagement dimension when considering engagement at the activity level.


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Journal of Chemical Education. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Journal of Chemical Education and can be found online at:



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