Science Education Literature

Science Education Literature

If you want to learn more about the exciting world of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and its sub-discipline Science Education Research, you can start with the following online course:

The course draws on the expertise of experienced STEM faculty, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centres. Many of them are affiliated with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of research universities collaborating in the preparation of STEM graduate students and post-docs as future faculty members.

Another great way to start is by exploring our Science Education Literature Database! From active learning to Massive Open Online Courses, there are lots of topics within Science Education that might be relevant to your own teaching and learning practices.

Active Learning

LaCosse, J., Ainsworth, S. E., Shepherd, M. A., Ent, M., Klein, K. M., Holland-Carter, L. A., Moss, J. H., Licht, M., & Licht, B. (2017). An active-learning approach to fostering understanding of research methods in large classes. Teaching of Psychology, 44(2), 117-123.

In this large-scale study students were actively engaged in a research project using a “highly structured active-learning program” (p. 118) to augment the understanding of research methods in a large psychology course. The study involved seven classes with two taught by the same instructor. The nonintervention class (N=111) received traditional teaching while the intervention class (N=174) was enhanced with a series of assignments spread out over the semester. Results indicate that students who received intervention performed significantly better on the end of semester quiz. The authors highlight the feasibility of including a research project assignment in a large lecture class.

Allen, D., & Tanner, K. (2005). Infusing active learning into the large-enrollment biology class: seven strategies, from the simple to complex. Cell Biology Education, 4(4), 262-268. DOI 10.1187/cbe.05-08-0113

Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class. Science, 332(6031), 862-864. DOI 10.1126/science.1201783

Freeman, S., Eddy, S., McDonough, M., Smith, M., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(23), 8410-8415. DOI 10.1073/pnas.1319030111

Kolb, A., & Kolb, D. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 193-212.

Peer Learning

Crouch, C. & Mazur, E. (2001). Peer Instruction: ten years of experience and results. American Journal of Physics, 69(9), 970-977. DOI 10.1119/1.1374248

Miller, K., Schell, J., Ho, A., Lukoff, B. & Mazur, E. (2015). Response switching and self-efficacy in peer instruction classrooms. Physics Education Research, 11(1), 010104-1(8). DOI 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.11.010104

Nicol, D., Thomson, A., Breslin, C. (2014). Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: a peer review perspective. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1), 102-122.

Problem Based Learning

Flynn, A. & Biggs, R. (2012) The development and implementation of a problem-based learning format in a fourth-year undergraduate synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry course. Journal of Chemical Education, 89(1), 52-57. DOI 10.1021/ed101041n

Project Based Learning

Robinson, J. (2013) Project-based learning: improving student engagement and performance in the laboratory. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 405(1), 7-13. DOI 10.1007/s00216-012-6473-x

Blended Learning

Bernard, R., Borokhovski, E., Schmid, R., Tamim, R., Abrami, P. (2014). A meta-analysis of blended learning and technology use in higher education from the general to the applied. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 26(1), 87-122. DOI 10.1007/s12528-013-9077-3

Bishop, J. & Verleger, M. (2013). The flipped classroom: A survey of the research. 120th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition(June).

Ten Facts About Blended Learning

Creativity in STEM

DeHaan, R. (2009). Teaching creativity and inventive problem solving in science. CBE – Life Sciences Education, 8(3), 172-181. DOI 10.1187/cbe.08-12-0081

Mayo, M. (2007). Games for science and engineering education. Communications of the ACM, 50(7), 31-35.

Changing Motivation from Extrinsic to Intrinsic

Keller, J. (2016). Motivation, learning, and technology: Applying the ARCS-V motivation model. Participatory Educational Research, 3(2), 1-13. DOI 10.17275/per

Ryan, R. , & Deci, E. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. DOI 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.68

Metacognitive Strategies (Learning to Learn)

Cook, E., Kennedy, E., & McGuire, S. (2013). Effect of teaching metacognitive strategies on performance in general chemistry courses. Journal of Chemical Education, 90(8), 961-967. DOI 10.1021/ed300686h

Online Learning

Khan, A., Egbue, O., Palkie, B., & Madden, J. (2017). Active learning: Engaging students to maximize learning in an online course. Electronic Journal of E-Learning, 15(2), 107-115.

Khan, Egbue, Palkie, and Madden (2017) identify five factors contributing to quality online learning in higher education. These include interdisciplinary collaboration, accessibility, learning communities, discussion, and effective assessment. Online learning affords the opportunity for perspective taking, dialogue, and self-reflection. Khan et al. (2017) recount numerous articles to deconstruct methods for increasing engagement in online learning. Through relevant articles and course discussion, and self-reflective rubrics to improve accountability, students are likely to become engaged in their online learning. Future research should acknowledge the modification of face-to-face classes towards online learning using the criteria indicated by Khan et al. (2017).


Gasevic, D., Kovanovic, V., Joksimovic, S. & Siemens, G. (2014). Where is research on massive open online courses headed? A data analysis of the MOOC research initiative. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(5), 134-176.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Nikoi, S., & Armellini, A. (2012). The OER mix in higher education: purpose, process, product, and policy. Distance Education, 33(2), 165-184.

Resource: University of Alberta Libraries OER Resource

Resource: University of Alberta Open Education Week

Ten Facts About OER


Hanus, M. D., & Fox, J. (2015). Assessing the effects of gamification in the classroom: A longitudinal study on intrinsic motivation, social comparison, satisfaction, effort, and academic performance. Computers & Education, 80, 152-161.

Borges, S.D., Durelli, V.H., Reis, H.M., & Isotani, S. (2014). A systematic mapping on gamification applied to education. SAC. DOI:10.1145/2554850.2554956

Artificial Intelligence

Ten Facts About Artificial Intelligence in Teaching and Learning

Learning Analytics

Ten Facts about Learning Analytics


Benassi, V. A., Overson, C. E., & Hakala, C. M. (2014). Applying science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site:

Garcia-martinez, J., & Serrano-Torregrosa, E. (2015). Chemistry education: Best practices, opportunities and trends. Retrieved from

Mazur, E. (1997). Peer Instruction: A user’s manual. Retrieved from

For Faculty & Instructors

Innovative Assessment in Higher Education: A Handbook for Academic Practitioners [2nd Edition]

For Instructional Designers

Improving Student Engagement and Development through Assessment: Theory and practice in higher education

For Policy-Makers and Administrators

Assessing Student Learning Outcomes in Higher Education

Explore All Must-Read Selections


Board of Science Education, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine

Online Learning Contact Nord

Faculty Learning Communities

Cox, M. D. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 97, 5-23. DOI: 10.1002/tl.129

Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) are groups of faculty members, educators, and/or staff, who choose to create a supportive, social, and academic space to share and discuss teaching and learning methods and ideas. This paper examines the design, organization, goals, and difficulties of FLCs and considers their importance in establishing mentorship roles for new faculty, building interdisciplinary and interdepartmental relationships, and creating a safe community, especially for at-risk and isolated educators. Further, the author distinguishes between two types of FLCs: Cohort FLC’s which focus on the needs of the members, and Topic FLC’s which are organized around a topic or subject.

Learning Outcomes

Sadler, D. R. (2016). Three in-course assessment reforms to improve higher education learning outcomes. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41(7), 1081-1099.

The relationship among competencies, learning outcomes, and assessment is the focus of this article, with practical recommendations to improve learning evaluation for post-secondary educators. Sadler suggests three approaches meant to ensure that assessment addresses both the summative context-learning and the transferrable higher order thinking skills. The reforms proposed include designing a multitude of highly specific assessment tasks, defining the minimum performance for passing, and refining the balance between formative and summative evaluation. Relevant examples illustrate each reform and are useful for course design and review to better align intended competencies, learning outcomes and the evaluation process.

Teaching Assistants

Wheeler, L. B., Maeng, J. L., Chiu, J. L., & Bell, R. L. (2017). Do teaching assistants matter? Investigating relationships between teaching assistants and student outcomes in undergraduate science laboratory classes. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, (4), 463.

This paper argues that TAs play important roles in the quality of education students receive. It also outlines the importance of professional development (PD) and its impact on student learning. “Results demonstrate that TAs’ content knowledge improved following PD…and students’ content knowledge significantly improved across the semester” (p. 463). The authors suggest professors should use the extensive literature on K-12 PD as it is applicable for higher education TAs. By focusing on PD that explores TAs beliefs, confidence, and practice, professors can help support their TAs’ instructional practice, which subsequently supports their students’ learning.