Innovations in Practical Work at the Tertiary Level

Wham, Alasdair James Bruce (1977) Innovations in Practical Work at the Tertiary Level. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 13804115.pdf] PDF
Download (10MB)


A survey of the aims, philosophy and assessment techniques in practical work since 1805 was carried out. Evaluation of the practical courses at Glasgow University revealed two main weaknesses in the present system. These were that the effectiveness of learning in the laboratory was low and that the student was given no opportunity to think for himself. A two stage laboratory model was devised to overcome these weaknesses. Learning Stage → Experience Stage (Reinforcement ) The aim of the learning stage is to teach the skills unique to the laboratory such as manipulative skills and other ancillary skills such as graph drawing and to provide the student with practice in mastering the techniques. The aim of the experience stage is to reinforce the previously learnt techniques and to provide the student with an opportunity to think for himself in the laboratory. To evaluate practical work three types of assessment were used. The first method was that of self-report techniques where the student evaluates his own performance Both questionnaire and interview approaches were used to collect this information and an interview schedule based on the two-stage laboratory model was developed. The use of paper and pencil tests to assess the students' knowledge of practical procedures was investigated and the results analysed. A third method of assessment which involved analysing student performance in the laboratory was developed to assess the effectiveness of two films. In the / In the learning stage of the laboratory model three approaches were examined which were intended to increase the effectiveness of learning. These were, the development of two films, one on the use of the burette and the other on the use of the pipette, the introduction of pre-laboratory exercises and the adoption of a group participation approach to present selected experiments. In the experience stage two methods were examined. These were the use of open-ended experiments and, secondly, the use of projects. Suggestions for further work have been proposed which may lead to further improvement of practical courses and of assessment methods.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Science education, Science history
Date of Award: 1977
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1977-78752
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:56
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 14:56

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year