Development and Implementation of Design-Based Learning Opportunities for Students to Apply Electrochemical Principles in a Designette

Shun Yu Tan, Katja Hölttä-Otto*, Franklin Anariba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A hands-on design activity named electrochemistry designette that incorporates design thinking with the aims to strengthen electrochemistry concepts, introduce prototyping ideas, encourage student class participation, and foster creativity is presented. This active learning activity, which lies at the interface of design and electrochemistry (mixed methods approach), allows students to experience design thinking as a creative tool through the application of electrochemical principles. The designette permits the students to design and prototype, from an available design prototyping kit, a 6-cell electrochemical device capable of turning on 4 light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The electrochemical device consists of electrode pairs composed of Cu, Zn, Al, and Sn electrodes, along with rice wine and CuSO 4 solution as electrolytes, connected via staples, wires, and eyelets. The designette allows for the direct and objective evaluation of students' performance via three critical parameters: the number of prototypes created, the power harnessed by the voltaic device, and the number of total LEDs powered on by the device. The effectiveness of the designette as a pedagogical tool for design-based learning (DBL) was evaluated through pre- and post-designette electrochemistry tests. Generally, results show that the designette improves the student's ability to recall information, therefore enhancing the learning experience of the students. Students who participated in the designette displayed statistically significantly higher scores in the electrochemistry assessment after the designette. Furthermore, we found some evidence between performance in the designette and post-designette creativity. Interestingly, no correlations were found between performance in theoretical quizzes, designette performance, or pre-designette creativity metrics. The electrochemistry designette can be carried out as an activity in a chemistry course or a workshop on design for high school students with a background in electrochemistry, for undergraduate engineering and architecture students, and for general undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory general science course, independently of their interest in design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-266
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
  • High School/Introductory Chemistry
  • Interdisciplinary/Multidisciplinary

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