RESEARCH ARTICLE: Improving students’ perceptions of pre-lab assignments and corresponding group discussions within a pharmacy compounding lab
Keywords:Course Design, Educational Experiences, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacy Compounding, Student Performance , Student Perceptions
Objective: To enhance students’ perceptions of their learning within a pharmacy compounding lab.
Methods: During a previous course evaluation, the participating students rated their ‘pre-lab assignments’ and ‘group discussions in lab’ as having relatively low levels of benefit upon their learning. As a result, several modifications were made to these items over the subsequent three-year period. First, the completion of the pre-lab assignments was changed from ‘prior to each lab’ to ‘at the beginning of each lab’ and the group discussions were eliminated (Year-1). Then, the pre-lab assignments were revised to fully integrate the application questions with the lab activities (Year-2). Finally, the group discussions were reincorporated into the labs (Year-3). Upon the conclusion of each year, the students (n=150-152) were asked to rate how beneficial each course item was to their learning using a four-point scale.
Results: The useable response rates were 92-97%. After Year-1, the mean level of benefit (MLB) for the pre-lab assignments decreased from 2.3±0.8 to 2.0±1.1 (p<0.05); however, after Year-2, the MLB increased to 2.8±0.6 (p<0.05). In addition, after Year-3, the MLB for the group discussions in lab increased from 2.1±0.9 to 2.5±0.7 (p<0.05) with no change in the MLB for the pre-lab assignments (p>0.05).
Conclusions: The combination of having students complete their pre-lab assignments ‘at the beginning of’ instead of ‘prior to’ each lab and ensuring any application questions are fully integrated with the lab activities appears to enhance their perceptions of not only the pre-lab assignments, but of the group discussions in lab as well.
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