5 Creative Ways to Teach Proton NMR Spectra Interpretation

Akanksha Saxena

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is an extraordinary technique that holds the potential to tap the secrets hidden within the atomic nucleus. It has revolutionized fields ranging from chemistry and physics to medicine and material science. Sitting at the heart of magnetism and radiofrequency signals, NMR dances in harmony to reveal the intricate details of molecular structures. 

But the trouble begins when we uncover the intricate details and peculiarities of this ingenious method to students for the first time.  Educators dealing with NMR and its data interpretation find it quite challenging to explain the underlying principles, signal transmission, the idea of equivalent and non-equivalent protons, and many more such concepts to their learners.

For this reason, we have compiled 5 creative ways in which you can make the topic of NMR more appealing for your learners.  

1. Use Interactive Models and Simulations

In the modern era of education, models, and simulations have emerged as powerful tools to enhance the understanding of complex scientific techniques like NMR. Both of these tools can be instrumental in elucidating the “underlying principles”, “data interpretation”, and “the fundamentals of proton NMR signals”.

As educators, you can introduce students to interactive simulations like Labster’s NMR Interpretation Simulation to facilitate a clear understanding of molecular structures and mechanisms of “how different chemical environments affect the NMR spectra”. As simulations provide hands-on experience of how proton NMR signals are obtained and interpreted, your students won’t have to remain abstained from this state-of-the-art technique. No wonder, colleges and universities are relying on more of a simulative environment to bridge the gaps of funding crisis and infrastructure unavailability. (1, 2, 3)

Preview of proton nmr simulation.

2. Learning with Games and Activities

Educators can effectively impart knowledge about NMR data interpretation by incorporating interactive games and activities in the teaching process. These tools can actively engage learners with the basic concepts of NMR spectroscopy which will provide room to readily grasp complex underlying principles. 

As game-based activities, whether physical or virtual, ensure the creation of a dynamic learning environment, students can become proficient and confident in the principles and applications of NMR spectroscopy, allowing them to apply their theoretical concepts of “nuclear spin”, “resonance”, “chemical shift”, “shielding and deshielding”, etc in the gaming sessions. You can choose NMR Interpretation Game from Labster where students will be engrossed in the structure elucidation of an unknown organic compound.

3. Infusing Technology into Study Plans

In this era of digitalization, educators can enhance their lecture delivery and make it more scientifically rigorous by integrating innovative technological approaches. Not only will these interventions ease the process but will also help in gathering more indulgence in classes.

One can plan to use “AR applications” that overlay virtual NMR experiments onto the real-world laboratory setting. Students can perform NMR experiments virtually using their smartphones or AR headsets which will permit them to practice data interpretation and analysis safely and interactively. Similarly, you can encourage students to engage in “virtual NMR research projects” where they analyze NMR data from real scientific studies. In Labster’s NMR Virtual Lab, students can engage with Sam and analyze a sample from a local canteen using proton NMR spectroscopy.

4. Inspiring Learners by Connecting to Career Prospects

You can also make the NMR technique appealing to students by inspiring them to see how it opens doors to a wide range of rewarding and impactful careers!

As you demonstrate the relevance and significance of this analytical technique in the pharmaceutical industry, materials science, environmental science, and forensics for different purposes like research, quality control, and product development, students are bound to understand the larger-than-life contributions that are possible to make if they master this technique.

Alternatively, you can also engage learners in a small sample evaluation activity using the NMR technique under the supervision of Labster’s Virtual Scientist Dr. One where they will be taught the significance of chemical shift and peak splitting and also how and what leads to the split patterns that one observes in NMR technique!

Preview of PMR 1 simulation.
Discover Labster's NMR virtual lab today!

5. Connecting the Topic to Real-World Applications

Presenting the real-world applications of NMR spectroscopy is yet another efficient way to inspire students to appreciate its significance in addressing global challenges and fostering innovation across multiple industries and scientific domains. You can highlight the importance of learning NMR data interpretation by illustrating how NMR spectroscopy is instrumental in “biomedical research” like drug development and personalized medicine. You can underscore the importance of how the elucidation of the structure of biomolecules like proteins and nucleic acids using NMR acts like a treasure trove for designing more effective drugs and therapies!

Another example to demonstrate the utilization of NMR to solve real-world issues is its utilization in “forensics and criminal investigations”. To identify illegal drugs, analyze trace evidence, and determine the origin of chemical substances found at crime scenes, NMR has proven its substance (pun intended)!

Final thoughts

As we head towards newer times, teaching NMR interpretation in a novel way to our students is becoming more important than ever. Labster supports educators in preparing learners for the ever-evolving demands of modern science and industry through the provision of its scientifically-designed simulatory virtual labs. As we aim to empower the next-gen scientists with conceptual clarity of complex techniques like this, we have to embrace fresh perspectives in teaching! 

Try our free 30-day All Access Educator's Pass today and teach with the Proton NMR Spectra simulation alongside 300+ other virtual labs!


  1. Marion, D. (2013). An introduction to biological NMR spectroscopy. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, 12(11), 3006-3025.
  2. Emwas, A. H., Roy, R., McKay, R. T., Tenori, L., Saccenti, E., Gowda, G. N., ... & Wishart, D. S. (2019). NMR spectroscopy for metabolomics research. Metabolites, 9(7), 123. 

a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
Bring Science to Life
Immersive Learning Simulations

Labster helps universities and high schools enhance student success in STEM.

Request Demo

Discover The Most Immersive Digital Learning Platform.

Request a demo to discover how Labster helps high schools and universities enhance student success.

Request Demo