5 Creative Ways to Teach Size Exclusion Chromatography

Akanksha Saxena

Introducing your students to the captivating world of chromatographic techniques can be a gateway to igniting their curiosity in the field of research. Chromatography, a powerful tool used to separate and analyze complex mixtures, unveils a realm of scientific exploration. One of the many types of chromatographic techniques is the SEC, i.e., Size Exclusion Chromatography.

SEC, also known as “Gel Filtration Chromatography (GFC)”, operates on the principle of exclusion rather than interaction. Unlike other chromatographic techniques that rely on specific interactions between compounds and the stationary phase, SEC separates molecules solely based on their size and shape. Explaining this and the other intricacies of this technique could pose various challenges to educators. For this reason, we have brought 5 creative ways that educators can put to use in their next session of SEC.

1. Use Interactive Models and Simulations

In the 21st-century classroom, an innovative and effective way to teach about size exclusion chromatography (SEC) is by utilizing interactive models and simulations. Interactive simulations allow students to actively engage with the subject matter by observing the separation process in real-time and analyzing the outcomes. 

Virtual lab experience with Labster in the specific Size Exclusion Chromatography Virtual Lab could come in handy to you in incorporating interactive learning approaches and creating a coherent and dynamic educational experience that prepares your students for the demands of the modern scientific landscape.

2. Learning with Games and Activities

Another trailblazing approach to teaching about SEC could be to use the untapped potential of educational games and engaging classroom activities. While gamified elements leave learners in awe, they are also a prime choice according to scientific research pieces of evidence (1, 2) to transcend the boundaries of traditional teaching methods. 

Labster takes learning to a whole new level by gamifying the teaching of size exclusion chromatography (SEC). In this innovative virtual lab, students are transported into the world of SEC, where they embark on a quest to prepare a sample of a protein linked to Parkinson's disease. By injecting their samples into SEC columns and analyzing the elution time of different-sized particles, students gain a deep understanding of compound separation by size exclusion.

Preview of CC2 Screenshot 3 simulation.
Discover Labster's Size Exclusion Chromatography virtual lab today!

3. Infusing Technology into Study Plans

In the current era, teaching has indeed become more challenging as students exhibit a desire for deeper understanding. To meet these evolving educational needs, educators must embrace innovative the power of technology in the classroom.

The learning journey can be made more immersive with the utilization of technological interventions making students resonate with the basic core concepts and principles of SEC. There are various ways in which this can be done:

  • Educational apps
  • Online platforms
  • Multimedia resources
  • Simulations like the Labster’s SEC Simulation

4. Inspiring Learners by Connecting to Career Prospects

Another approach that educators can adapt to is to link and connect the subject of size exclusion chromatography (SEC) to future career prospects. This will be an impactful and meaningful approach to teaching as showcases the practical and relevant applications of SEC in various industries: 

  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Biotechnology 
  • Environmental science 

As educators ignite students' curiosity and passion for the subject through this approach, they can inspire students to envision themselves as future scientists, researchers, and industry professionals.  

5. Connecting the Topic to Real-World Applications

Another approach to gathering students’ interest in the topic is by highlighting the real-world applications of SEC. Its utilization in various industries and research fields can be a testimony to its practical relevance. 

  • Pharmaceuticals (you can have your students explore how SEC is used in the development of new drugs and therapies, where it plays a crucial role in purifying and analyzing protein-based drugs.)
  • Biotechnology (you can help them explore how SEC is employed for the characterization and quality control of biotherapeutics.)
  • Environmental science (you can help them discover how SEC aids in environmental analysis, such as studying pollutants and contaminants in water samples.)

By connecting SEC to these real-world applications, students can grasp the tangible impact of this technique and its significance in addressing complex challenges.

Final thoughts

Teaching the new generation of students can indeed be a demanding task for educators, as it requires staying updated with the latest research and incorporating it into lesson plans. However, when it comes to teaching about size exclusion chromatography (SEC), we have the perfect solution. The scientifically-designed SEC Virtual Lab is specifically tailored to engage students and make the learning process exciting.

The above-listed methods when incorporated along with the virtual lab can effectively spark student interest in SEC, benefitting them in their future scientific journeys.

Preview of CC2 Screenshot 1 simulation with laptop and gloves.
Try our free 30-day All Access Educator's Pass today and teach with the Size Exclusion Chromatography simulation alongside 300+ other virtual labs!


  1. Vogel, J. J., Vogel, D. S., Cannon-Bowers, J., Bowers, C. A., Muse, K., & Wright, M. (2006). Computer gaming and interactive simulations for learning: A meta-analysis. Journal of educational computing research, 34(3), 229-243.
  2. Brull, S., & Finlayson, S. (2016). Importance of gamification in increasing learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 47(8), 372-375.
  3. Iosup, A., & Epema, D. (2014, March). An experience report on using gamification in technical higher education. In Proceedings of the 45th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education (pp. 27-32).
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