The use of videos as an alternative to lab manuals
Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences
I noticed that a lot of my students have problems with written lab manuals for different reasons. I sent a questionnaire to 30 Forensic Biology students to ascertain what these problems are and to find out if the use of videos as an alternative to lab manuals might be helpful. The majority of students said they would like to watch these videos. I then produced three videos about experiments that are carried out in the module Aspects of Forensic Biology. The students had the opportunity to look at the videos and fill in a second questionnaire with their comments. Most of the students responded very positively and said they would like to see videos for other labs as well. The aim of this study was to find out if the use of videos would support student learning by offering an alternative way for students to prepare for a practical class. The hope is that this will increase confidence, engagement and retention.
These videos are a good approach to inclusiveness, as dyslexic students might find these videos easier to deal with than the text format of a paper manual. This, of course, might also be true for other students who prefer a more visual approach in their learning. This conforms to statement 4 in the new LTA strategy, which says that we should use technology to support and enhance learning in our diverse student community. Using this technology as an alternative to the lab manual will enhance student learning regardless of geographic location, learning approaches and needs, and that is, according to statement 7 of the new LTA Strategy, what we would like to achieve for our students.
Some students indicated that they prefer the visual aspect of a video as a learning tool compared to the written lab manual. In the future it might be great to analyse the learning styles of the students and correlate that with the usage of the videos. Most students would like to see videos for the first and second year labs, because of lack of experience. With the help of the videos we can increase their confidence and enthusiasm for these labs and in turn increase retention. From the responses of the students it is clear that these three videos and others in the future will be beneficial and support student learning. These videos will also be very useful for any distance learning programmes that we might want to develop in the future. The quality of the videos is not as good as I hoped for, but that is a minor problem which can be improved easily.
Feedback of students in form of the questionnaires is available.
The use of videos as an alternative to lab manuals by Nicole Payton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
01 January 2010