Keele University team wins prestigious prize from Royal Society of Chemistry

A team of academics from Keele University has been named the winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Team Prize for Excellence in Higher Education.

The Keele team-based learning group were the first chemistry educators in the UK to use team-based learning in their teaching. “Team-based learning” (TBL) is a structured learning technique where students undertake a series of activities in a team, learning from each other and working together to solve problems. TBL has been shown to contribute to the development of a wide range of skills, such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.

Over the last seven years the Keele team-based learning group have embedded TBL across all years of the chemistry degree programmes at Keele, which has received positive student feedback and contributed to enhanced student performance. The group has also widely disseminated their work on TBL, and have helped educators across the world to adopt TBL in their teaching.

Thanks to their efforts the team was chosen by the RSC’s prestigious panel of judges as one of the most inspirational, innovative and dedicated groups in education.

Team member and Lecturer in Chemistry, Dr Laura Hancock said: “We are thrilled for our work on team-based learning to have been recognised by the RSC. We are all so enthusiastic about the benefits of TBL as an active learning strategy to help students learn chemistry but also develop a range of important transferable skills, and are delighted that we have been able to assist other educators to adopt this learning technique in their teaching. For me personally, the best aspect of winning this prize is being able to share it with a wonderful group of colleagues who have supported each other at every point along our TBL journey.”

Dr Helen Pain, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, added: “Educators are some of the most important people in the sciences, nurturing and inspiring the next generation of talent who ultimately will help us further advance understanding of the world around us and solve some of the immense challenges facing the world today and tomorrow.

“Over the past two years, educators have had to deal with circumstances unlike anything we have seen in living memory; with remote teaching and lack of access to equipment due to Covid restrictions making the sciences a particularly tricky subject to teach. What we have seen is resilience and brilliance – and our winners stand high in a particularly inspiring field of nominees.

“The Keele Team-Based Learning Group have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to chemistry education, and it is our honour to celebrate their considerable contribution.”