Is LabTutor a helpful component of the blended learning approach to biosciences?: A Swift et al.

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Abstract

Aims and Objectives

To evaluate the use of LabTutor (a physiological data capture and e-learning package) in bioscience education for student nurses.

Background

Knowledge of biosciences is important for nurses the world over, who have to monitor and assess their patient's clinical condition, and interpret that information to determine the most appropriate course of action. Nursing students have long been known to find acquiring useable bioscience knowledge challenging. Blended learning strategies are common in bioscience teaching to address the difficulties students have. Student nurses have a preference for hands-on learning, small group sessions and are helped by close juxtaposition of theory and practice.

Design

An evaluation of a new teaching method using in-classroom voluntary questionnaire.

Methods

A structured survey instrument including statements and visual analogue response format and open questions was given to students who participated in Labtutor sessions. The students provided feedback in about the equipment, the learning and the session itself.

Results

First year (n = 93) and third year (n = 36) students completed the evaluation forms. The majority of students were confident about the equipment and using it to learn although a few felt anxious about computer-based learning. They all found the equipment helpful as part of their bioscience education and they all enjoyed the sessions.

Conclusion

This equipment provides a helpful way to encourage guided independent learning through practice and discovery and because each session is case study based and the relationship of the data to the patient is made clear. Our students helped to evaluate our initial use of LabTutor and found the sessions enjoyable and helpful. LabTutor provides an effective learning tool as part of a blended learning strategy for biosciences teaching.

Relevance to clinical practice

Improving bioscience knowledge will lead to a greater understanding of pathophysiology, treatments and interventions and monitoring.

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