Web-based ionic liquids learning media to measure the competence of polytechnic students


Ina Yulianti1 , Ida Hamidah1* , Mumu Komaro1 , Ahmad Mudzakir1 , Maizam Alias2

1Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (Indonesia)
2Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (Malaysia)

Received November 2020

Accepted February 2021


The rapid development of technology and information has influenced students’ learning styles and has led to a shift in information seeking from printed books to e-books. This study aims to measure students’ knowledge and skills, attitude, and website knowledge competency on the ionic liquid material. The study involved 47 students of the Diploma III Chemical Engineering program at a private polytechnic selected using a purposive sampling technique. This web-based Ionic Liquids learning was tested on students through the experiential learning model. Data collection was carried out by completing the competency test at the beginning (CT1) and the end of learning (CT2). The results revealed that website-based ionic liquid learning increased each competency of knowledge and skills of ionic liquids, knowledge of websites, and attitude. Even though not all students can do it independently, the learning could attract students’ attention. The learning has to be combined with lecturers’ explanations as reinforcing concepts. This research’s implications are expected to be used as recommendations in enriching the Chemical Engineering education curriculum by adding website-based ionic liquid material.


Keywords – Education, experiential learning, ionic liquids, web-based learning.

To cite this article:

Yulianti, I., Hamidah, I., Komaro, M., Mudzakir, A., & Alias, M. (2021). Web-based ionic liquids learning media to measure the competence of polytechnic students. Journal of Technology and Science Education, 11(2), 284-294. https://doi.org/10.3926/jotse.1145



    1. 1. Introduction

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is one of Indonesia’s educational institutions that prioritize acquiring knowledge and skills. To meet the demand for a skilled and independent workforce, TVET must collaborate with the industry to bridge the required skills. Oviawe (2017) suggests that TVET provides skills training to meet the workforce’s needs in the 21st century. The rapid globalization requires industrial workers in Indonesia to improve their work competence, following the standards set by the national standard called Indonesian National Work Competency Standards as the formulation of work capability standards that cover aspects of knowledge, skills, and work attitudes (Sánchez-García, Ureña-Molina, López-Medina & Pancorbo-Hidalgo, 2019). Diploma students in the Chemical Engineering study program are prepared to acquire competencies stated in the national standard No. 165 of 2016, including competencies in planning, processing, and using chemicals for the production process in the face of competition in the global market. Chemical engineering students need insights and skills for selecting, processing, and using chemicals related to environmental safety.

Along with developing green material technology, it is necessary to introduce ionic liquid material as the latest chemical for various applications in the industrial field. The ionic liquid material is relatively new for polytechnic education. Thus it needs to be introduced, and for easy access to the material, the learning is presented in the form of a website (Kassinis & Panayiotou, 2017).

Some studies have reported that the availability of educational resources on the web is an efficient way to obtain and share knowledge through e-Learning (Valenzuela, Fragoso, Santaolaya & Munoz, 2017). The study in the application of ionic liquids in industries, especially chemical engineering, found that the room temperature petrochemical industry of ionic liquids (RTIL) was introduced as a new solvent for separating various gases hydrocarbons (Palgunadi, Indarto, Winoto & Kim, 2010). However, the reality shows no polytechnic education in Indonesia includes this ionic liquid material in the curriculum. In the present study, the innovation of ionic liquid material in this web design is the SINUS menu (Interactive Simulation of ion Liquids-Sketch), used in learning. The learning using SINUS is expected to enhance students’ competence, skills, and attitudes in designing ionic liquids. Using simulations for making imidazolium salt structures as an example of ionic liquids and making a graph to predict the type of ionic liquid, also one of the innovations in this SINUS. Related to this, learning ionic liquids is considered very urgent to be given to polytechnic students to increase competence in planning, processing, and using chemicals that are safe for the production process.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Web-Based Learning

Web-based learning refers to online learning or e-learning. Discussion forums via email, video conferencing, and live lectures (video streaming) are all possible via the web. Web-based learning, known as web-based training (WBT) or web-based education (WBE), can be defined as a web technology application for the educational process (Rusman, 2016). It offers unlimited speed in space and time in accessing information. Students can easily carry out learning activities as long as a computer or smartphone is connected to the internet network. A website is a collection of pages with specific content and purpose, and users can access the website with several devices such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, or tablets. The main requirement for learning through the web is access to information sources. Some data sources can be accessed freely without administrative processes, while others can only be accessed by parties that have been authorized by the owner of the source of information. One source of data that has been developed and can be accessed by users for learning is the website http://mopekimia.gamma.co.id as can be seen in Figure 1. The authors developed this website to facilitate students in learning ionic liquids.

The web was designed for teaching materials, including ionic liquid material, learning videos, interactive simulations, student evaluations, questionnaires, and a recap of exam results. All of them are summarized in the website features of the main home page menu, material, experiment guidance (LKI), interactive simulation ionic liquids sketch (SINUS), learning video, evaluation, and exam results. Students can choose the menu according to their needs by clicking the menu and sub-menu available. Some initial information is provided on the home page menu, such as learning objectives, general web usage guidelines, and an explanation of each menu and sub-menu. The material menu contains preliminary, science, engineering, and ionic liquid technology sub-menus. The introductory sub-menu includes the definition and history of ionic liquids. The science sub-menu includes basic structure, encoding, imidazolium molecular structure, physical-chemical properties, and melting point. The engineering sub-menu includes the effect of ion size on the melting point of the imidazolium ion liquid, the effect of the alkyl chain, and the size of the anion on the melting point ionimidazolium liquid, synthesis, quaternization reaction, and metathesis reaction. The technology sub-menu includes applications, ionic liquids, and green chemistry, enhancing the sustainability of ionic liquids, and ionic innovation in chemical engineering.


Figure 1. Web-based ionic liquids learning design (http://mopekimia.gamma.co.id)

The LKI menu is an interactive worksheet in the form of interactive practical procedures on the effect of changes in the length of the alkyl chain on the cation and type of anion (anion size) imidazolium ionic liquid on its salt melting point in a simulated form. It contains objectives, theoretical basis, work steps, and questions that students must answer after completing the simulation. Meanwhile, SINUS is an exercise in designing the structure of an imidazole liquid in the form of a salt with cationic imidazole and various anions such as Cl-, Br-, PF6-, BF4-, TfO-, and TFSI-. Structural design is done according to the procedures in the LKI. Based on the structure, students can determine the value of the melting point and graph the relationship between the structure of the ionic liquid and its melting point by clicking on the available show chart, as shown in Figure 2.

By extrapolating the graph as shown in Figure 3, students can determine the type of ionic liquid used at room temperature or below room temperature. This information is essential for chemical engineering students to plan, prepare, and use chemicals that are safe for industrial processes.


Figure 2. Designing an ionic liquid structure

The video menu includes a science video describing ionic liquids as low-melting ionic salts, engineering videos explaining the structure and properties of ionic liquids, and ionic liquids technology videos, including applications on batteries. Meanwhile, the evaluation menu contains sample questions, practice exercises, competency tests in the form of pre-test and post-test, and student questionnaire attachments. Exam results include the results of the practice questions and student questionnaires. To enter the evaluation menu, special access is required where students must log in and register first with the link address http://mopekimia.gamma.co.id/registration/ to facilitate the recording of test results. Web-based learning has been useful for some reasons: as it can connect information sources in a variety of different formats; can be an efficient way of delivering subject matter, information sources can be provided from any location and at any time; can be potential to expand access; can encourage more independent and active learning; and can provide a useful source of complementary materials for conventional programs (Safitri, Hamidah & Setiawan, 2019).

The web also contains hyperlinks that connect to other parts of the web and allow access to large amounts of information. With web-based learning, the material can be linked to libraries (for example, for ordering books or journals), online databases, and electronic journals. However, web-based design learning has some disadvantages. Students feel frustrated if they cannot access graphics, images, and video clips because of the lack of facilities. Besides, the required infrastructure must be available and affordable. As information can vary in quality and accuracy, guidance is needed, and students can feel isolated from the outside world. Web-based learning in an institution is often integrated with conventional face-to-face teaching. It is usually done via an intranet, usually "password protected," and can only be accessed by registered users. Thus, it is possible to protect the intellectual property of online material and support the exchange of confidential communications between students (Graham, 2019).


Figure 3. Graph of the effect of the alkyl chain on the melting point

2.2. Experiential Learning Theory

The Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) model has been conceptualized as a process that involves students in an iterative cycle based on reflection, generation of theories, and application of knowledge (experiments), which results from real experiences (Kolb, 1984). Kolb’s model consists of concrete experiences, reflective observations, abstract conceptualizations, and active experiments (see Figure 4). In this model, students follow the learning stages, like experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting in a recursive process sensitive to the learning situation and what is being learned. Concrete experiences directly expose the subject, evoking initial reactions, intuitive impressions, and affective responses. During a reflective observation, students make meaning from the observation experience and interpretation of events. Students also work in groups to discuss, share, and exchange ideas to get more in-depth observations (Gillies, 2019).


Figure 4. Adoption Experience Learning Cycle

Students form theories based on interpretations of the observed events during the abstract conceptualization, which can be linked to existing ideas or new ideas. In the final stage of an active experiment, students test the emerging theories. This stage serves as a guide in creating new experiences and can act as a basis for confirming or modifying emerging theoretical understandings. Kolb’s model provides valuable experience for learning about how students build an understanding of ionic liquids from observing events in web-based learning and from interpretations of their actions. Active experience activities through interactive simulations SINUS can help students be more creative without memorizing content (Tong, Loc, Uyen & Cuong, 2020).

2.3. Ionic Liquid

Ionic liquids are salts liquid with melting points below 100 °C, even below room temperature (Berthod, Ruiz-Ángel & Carda-Broch, 2018). Ionic liquids consist of large and asymmetrical organic cations, derived from imidazolium, pyridinium, pyrrolidinium, ammonium, phosphonium, and sulfonium. Common anions include halides, tetrachloroaluminate, hexafluorophosphate, tetrafluoroborate, and bis (trifluoromethylsulfonyl) imide-inorganic and organic anions such as alkylsulfate, alkylsulfonates, p‑toluenasulfonates (tosylates), and trifluoroacetates. Examples of ionic liquid salts with imidazolium cations are (a) 1.3 dimethyl imidazolium hexafluoropospate and (b) 1.3 dimethyl imidazolium tetrafluroborate, as shown in Fiure 5.

Ionic liquids have characteristics that make them preferred over traditionally available solvents. The characteristics include solvating ability, no/little vapor pressure, non-flammable, high thermal and electrochemical stability, extensive liquid range, ease to recycle, very polar, chiral, long shelf life, and conductivity (Irge, 2016).

The properties of ionic liquids depend on the cations and their constituent anions. It provides great potential in designing ionic liquids for a variety of applications (Vekariya, 2017). The provision of solvent media for environmentally friendly chemical reactions is the latest effort to replace traditional solvents. The availability of ionic liquids that are easy, non-toxic, non-flammable, and environmentally friendly is an irreplaceable benefit by other types of solvents (Mannekote, Kailas, Venkatesh & Kathyayini, 2018).