Inquiry-based laboratories improve student learning outcomes in a large first year topic

Masha Smallhorn, Jeanne Young, Narelle Hunter, Karen Burke Da Silva

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    Abstract

    The science laboratory has traditionally been used as a platform to apply the content gained through the lecture series. These activities have exposed students to experiments which test the concepts taught but which often result in a predicted outcome. This limits the opportunity for students to develop critical thinking and analysis skills. To improve the engagement and learning outcomes of our large first year biology cohort, the laboratories were redeveloped.
    Superlabs were run with 100 students attending weekly sessions increasing the amount of contact time from previous years. Laboratories were redeveloped into guided-inquiry and educators facilitated teams of students to design and carry out an experiment. To analyse the impact of the redevelopment on student satisfaction and learning outcomes, students were surveyed and multiple choice exam data was compared before and after the redevelopment.
    Results suggest high levels of student satisfaction and a significant improvement in student learning outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages65-71
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
    EventSTARS: Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention and Success -
    Duration: 1 Jul 2015 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceSTARS: Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention and Success
    Period1/07/15 → …

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  • Cite this

    Smallhorn, M., Young, J., Hunter, N., & Burke Da Silva, K. (2015). Inquiry-based laboratories improve student learning outcomes in a large first year topic. 65-71. Paper presented at STARS: Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention and Success, .