Computer-based alternatives – past, present and future David DewhurstAssistant Principal (e-learning & e-health)Director of Learning TechnologyCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, The University of Edinburgh
Main points to be covered • Multimedia computer simulations as alternatives to lab classes in pharmacology and physiology • Can they meet the learning objectives of lab classes? • How can we persuade teachers to use them • The future of CAL development - a Reusable Learning Object approach?
Simulations of animal preparations typically: use algorithms to generate simulated tissue responses allow control over experimental parameters - good for design highly flexible need significant direct/indirect tutor support Simulations of animal experiments typically: use ‘real’ data to generate simulated tissue responses - lifelike based on tutor-designed (i.e. relevant) experiments provide on-screen support & interactive self-assessments - good for self-directed learning Multimedia Computer simulations
Multimedia computer simulations • Lots of them • High Quality • Evidence is that they work • Poorly integrated • Expensive to produce • Not editable • Technical obsolescence www.sheffbp.co.uk
Numerous Studies: Clarke, ATLA 14: 134-140 (1987) Dewhurst, et al ATLA 15: 280-289 (1988) Dewhurst et al (1994) Amer. J. Physiol. 267 (Adv. Physiol. Educ. 12) S95-S104 Hughes (2001) TIPS 22: 2, 71-74 Findings Knowledge gain equivalent Students accept/enjoy as much/more Costs are lower Group work and staff-student interaction are promoted Laboratory/practical skills cannot be taught Evidence: computer simulations versus ‘animal labs’
Teaching and practising: laboratory skills general animal handling skills; preparation-specific animal skills imparting good ethical thinking new knowledge and reinforcing existing data handling skills experimental design skills communication skills (oral, written) And: promoting group work Computing/IT skills But Not: Teaching laboratory/practical skills Learning goals
but poorly integrated into teaching - why? Not web-deliverable - only LAN Content locked Lack of awareness Lack of time and/or skills to integrate - resources No institutional recognition for effort Resistance – ‘not-invented here’ Need regular content and technological updating How do we persuade teachers to use them? Trends in Pharmacological Sciences (TIPS, 19, 257-265, 1998) - survey 300+ pharmacologists (1996) They are good…. they work….
Several ways of doing this: raise awareness give examples of how they are being used in other universities demonstrate which learning outcomes they can most usefully address provide independent reviews present evidence from evaluations of their effectiveness EURCAwww.eurca.org Persuading teachers
One approach is to develop ‘wrap-around’support materials e.g. text-based study guides or workbooks e.g. BPS TLRP’s these may be similar to lab schedules and should include learning outcomes exercises, tasks and activities should bebuilt-in self-assessment questions should be included to reinforce learning Embedding alternatives into teaching
Tasks/activities - individual or group centred • Record and Measure - test accuracy of measurements • record responses of...to... measure .... quantify.... • Data Analysis • plot... extrapolate.....determine.... calculate… • Data Interpretation Skills • describe.... list...explain.... discuss.... • Presentation Skills • construct a table... draw a graph..prepare an abstract... • Experimental Design • design an experiment to....identify the unknown X... • Knowledge of underlying principles • use MCQs, True/False etc
ReCAL - content authoring - future • ReCAL - Edinburgh University project finded by The Lord Dowding Fund (UK) • Teacher selects objects from repository • Uses simple authoring tools to create new CAL
Thank you for listening David Dewhurst e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Learning Technology www.lts.mvm.ed.ac.uk ReCALwww.recal.mvm.ed.ac.uk/
Why should we do it? ‘e-learning is a Trojan horse… The real headline …. is that it’s about curriculum reform’ Roger Schanck, Carnegie Mellon University, TES March 2003 e-learning Issues
computer-based simulations - 2 types video and interactive video mannekins, models and simulators human experiments non-animal experiments (e.g. using plant tissues, post-mortem material, cultured cells) What alternatives are there?
Despite widespread availability of CAL resources the evidence is that they are not being embedded in teaching & learning. Barriers: Not web-deliverable - only LAN Content locked Lack of awareness Lack of time and/or skills to integrate No institutional recognition for effort Resistance – ‘not-invented here’ Trends in Pharmacological Sciences (TIPS, 19, 257-265, 1998) - survey 300+ pharmacologists (1996) The challenge
Animal Labs Really the only vehicle for effective teaching & learning of lab skills, animal handling skills and surgical/dissection skills But they are: • heavy on staff and student time • expensive - require technical support, equipment, consumables, animals, specialist accommodation • may contribute to a negative learning experience - student perceptions of ‘failed’ experiments. So: if the primary learning objectives do not include lab skills alternatives can be a cost-effective solution and have a significant impact on animal use.
In order to have an impact on animal use teachers must be persuaded to integrate alternatives into mainstream practice To facilitate this they need to: be made more aware of the existence of alternatives be persuaded of their educational usefulness Helped to integrate them into their teaching The challenge
A number of quality databases exist providing information about a wide range of learning resources e.g. NORINA, InterNiche, AVAR Mostly the information is product-centred and lacks the level of detail teachers need to make decisions about use. Our experience suggests that teachers value: the opportunity to evaluate their usefulness reviews, evaluations, exemplar support materials advice from experienced teachers Raising awareness
Resource Centre collection of alternatives - CAL, video, models high ‘visibility’ at international science meetings ‘manned’ by experienced academic teachers pro-active in promoting alternatives to teachers Web-based database of selected HE alternatives Product information, commissioned reviews, support materials, data from evaluative studies, users comments/experiences Electronic Newsletter, discussion groups, network of enthusiasts Disseminating information – eurca http://www.eurca.org
Several ways of doing this: provide independent reviews - eurca present evidence from evaluations of their effectiveness demonstrate how they are being used in similar situations and which learning objectives/outcomes they can most usefully address Persuading teachers