Project introduction and background information
We are facing increasing student numbers in the courses 'Structure and Function of Plants, 'Biology of Plants' and 'Plant Plasticity' (now around 275). Staff input is very high in the lab classes and needs to be decreased (without compromising on didactic quality). For the lab classes (practicum) we have been searching for tools to teach students how to design an experiment in a more creative, attractive and efficient way with less input by course assistants but without compromising didactic aspects. It is expected that by using such tools we avoid many trivial questions by the students before they are confident enough to execute the experiment. We want students to be more actively involved in their experiments and, thus, be more motivated.
In this, we introduce the LabBuddy e-learning tool for the design of experiments, maintaining high educational standards. LabBuddy allows students to divert from ‘cook book’ experiments and design their own experiments. The tool provides immediate feedback and will decrease the required input from course assistants.
Objective and expected outcomes
The objective of this education innovation project is to introduce the LabBuddy e-learning tool to teach students how to design an experiment in a more creative, attractive and efficient way with less input by course assistants and maintaining high educational standards. The tool provides immediate feedback and will decrease the required input from course assistants. Also, we want to improve communication between course assistants and students to become predominantly focused on the content of the assignment rather than secondary issues.
Results and learnings
- Implementation of the e-learning tool LabBuddy will enrich the learning environment
- The student makes his/her own decisions in the design of a realistic experiment that he/she will be executing
- There is immediate feedback from LabBuddy to the decisions made. The student will learn on the spot why a decision was wrong or right
- It is expected to enhance the student’s motivation
- The tool is flexible in that it allows students to take different routes to a final experimental design. In this sense, the student leaves a personal mark on the experiment
- This e-learning tool can easily be transferred among all 4 spheres of the education ecosystem. For example, it can be directly transferred to modules in on-line degree programming.