Learning About Enzyme Specificity With an Interactive Enzyme Model: Influences on Student Motivation, Cognitive Load, and Achievement

Mounir R. Saleh, University of Southern Mississippi
Sherry S. Herron, University of Southern Mississippi
Kyna Shelley, University of Southern Mississippi
Robert C. Bateman, University of Southern Mississippi


Scientists' progress in understanding enzyme specificity uncovered a complex natural phenomenon. However, not all of the currently available biology textbooks seem to be up to this progress. Nevertheless, students' understanding of how enzymes work is related to understanding other biological processes like receptor-ligand interactions. In an attempt to bridge this gap, we developed some instructional material consisting of a worksheet and an interactive physical model. The worksheet is structured based on the "segmentation principle" which is meant to meet the compexity of scientific processes like the one in hand (Mayer, 2009). The model in turn is primarily designed to visualize the process as well as promote motivation to learn about it. We describe here a case study in which we used this instructional material and examined its contribution to promote motivation and understanding of enzyme specificity on 30 undergraduate students majoring in life sciences-related fields.