University of Leicester
overton-book-williams.pdf (407.29 kB)
Download file

Context- and problem-based learning in chemistry in higher education

Download (407.29 kB)
posted on 2020-12-01, 10:49 authored by Dylan Williams
This chapter will provide an overview of the introduction of Context and Problem Based Learning (C/PBL) approaches in chemistry teaching in the UK and Ireland in the early 21stcentury. This will be illustrated using examples from the University of Leicester’s implementation of these approaches. The initial implementations were based on the modification of C/PBL resources developed for use in other degree programmes at Leicester. These resources were introduced in the early stages of the chemistry degree programmes at Leicester. The impact of this initial implementation was measured through student interviews and comparison of student performance with previous years. Later implementations used problems designed by multidisciplinary author teams based at Leicester. The impact of these implementations on student perceptions of skills development was measured inspired by the work of Overton and Hanson. The introduction of C/PBL at Leicester helped improve students’ awareness of the importance of transferable skills development without negatively influencing performance in chemistry assignments. Ongoing research and evaluation has shown that, as part of an employability strategy, C/PBL activities have contributed to high employability levels of Leicester chemistry graduates and have contributed to improvements in student perceptions of skills development. This work has created a suite of C/PBL resources which are freely accessible via the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Learn Chemistry platform. The insight provided by this work has also helped academics at other institutions adapt these resources to suit their own local contexts. Guidance is provided in this chapter on how this can be achieved..



Williams, D. P. (2019), “Context- and problem-based learning in chemistry in higher education”, in Seery, M. K. and McDonnell, C. (Eds.), Teaching Chemistry in Higher Education: A Festschrift in Honour of Professor Tina Overton, Creathach Press, Dublin, pp. 123-136.

Author affiliation

School of Chemistry


  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Teaching Chemistry in Higher Education: A Festschrift in Honour of Professor Tina Overton




Creathach Press



Copyright date




Usage metrics

    University of Leicester Publications