Search

E-learning solution

LabBuddy’s e-learning solution

LabBuddy provides an e-learning solution to supplement traditional laboratory education by creating a form of blended learning. LabBuddy helps students prepare before the start of the laboratory work, supports them while working in the laboratory, and guides them during the processing of their results after the laboratory work.

Preparation

In terms of preparation, LabBuddy provides students with:

  • Interactive questions to help them understand the experiments
  • An experiment designer in which students can make a flow scheme of the experiment before its actual execution in the laboratory
  • Tailored feedback

During the laboratory work

During laboratory work, LabBuddy supports students by means of:

  • An enriched lab manual, which provides just-in-time information on:
    • The appearance of tools and materials
    • The location of the tools and materials
    • Potential hazards
    • Video instructions on how to use equipment
  • A booking tool, in which students book timeslots for the use of equipment
  • A lab journal functionality

 

 

After the laboratory work

After the laboratory work, LabBuddy helps students to process raw data into results.

While working in LabBuddy, students are provided with tailored feedback to guide their learning.

LabBuddy will help students achieve more learning outcomes, since it reduces the unnecessary cognitive load imposed on them during laboratory work. The just-in-time information provided by LabBuddy answers many low-level questions (e.g., where to find equipment) that would otherwise be asked to the teacher. As a result, teachers have about 33% more time to effectively engage in scientific discussions with students.


Features of LabBuddy's
e-learning solution

Effective laboratory education encourages and supports curiosity and inquisitiveness in the lab rather than cookbook-following behaviour. However, teachers often struggle when having to engage with poorly prepared and unmotivated students who ask many low-level questions.

By letting students design their own experiment, they develop a sense of ownership and responsibility and an incentive to come to the lab well-prepared. On the other hand, traditional methods create much additional work for teachers. The solution to this dilemma is LabBuddys' Experiment Designer, or ExperD in short. It is the tool where all LabBuddy’s features come together.

In the ExperD, students design their experiments without a traditional practical manual. Instead, the practical manual is presented in small building blocks. These building blocks contain information at different levels of complexity depending on the background level of the students. For example, third-year students can handle DNA extraction from blood as one step in an experiment whereas first-year students might need smaller steps such as centrifuge blood sample. The teacher maintains complete control: designs of students can be as closed or open-ended as desired and in line with the practical learning goals.

Students are activated by automated feedback on their design and questions about the design process methods. Then, they can use their ExperD to keep an overview of the lab work at hand. In combination with good preparation, the just-in-time information takes away some of the cognitive overload that results in low-level questions.

Many laboratory techniques have written protocols. LabBuddy's e-learning solution offers the student the techniques that are available to include in their experiment design. The protocols of these techniques are integrated into LabBuddy's Experiment Designer and give the students the instructions to execute the techniques.

LabBuddy's interactive Protocols come with several features to promote student learning!

LabBuddy is designed to reduce the cognitive load to promote learning. This is accomplished by presenting the protocols in clear steps with the information separated into theoretical information and practical information. The theoretical information is presented in the PREPARE mode, whereas detailed instructions are presented in the WORK mode. In the WORK mode, the student uses LabBuddy in the lab.

 

Interactive tooltips tell the student what a pipette looks like, whilst avoiding the split attention effect.

Images, videos, timers and questions are integrated into the protocol!

Students prepare pipetting tables; their calculations are checked by LabBuddy, saving time for the supervising staff!

Students learn best when actively engaged in the learning process and want to accomplish the learning goals. Asking students questions related to their tasks encourages them to actively engage with the topic, resulting in better learning. It is then no surprise that in our ExperD we emphasised closed questions with tailored feedback, all at the level of the student’s understanding.

Example of a question from a 2nd year molecular cell biology practical at the University of Amsterdam

The closed questions help students better understand the use of protocols and how they fit in the larger frame of the practical. They also help students with the following:

  • Gain insight into the steps of the protocol
  • Formulate a research question or hypothesis
  • Learn to interpret results
  • Practice chemical calculations

Each question contains a highly detailed level of feedback to help students understand why their answer is wrong and lead them to the correct answer.

Questions can be as diverse as the content of the practical itself:

  • Pipetting schemes
  • Identifying structures
  • Predicting results
  • Chemical calculations

You name it, and we make it!

Besides the questions explicitly made for your practical, LabBuddy offers a library* of existing questions used by other institutions.

*The library contains questions and methods of courses. LabBuddys' clients have agreed to share their content with other LabBuddy users under the creative commons licence rules. Using this content means that users also share their content in this library.

Find out more here (link).

One of the primary purposes of LabBuddy's e-learning solution is to let students design their own experiment. LabBuddy provides the methods in a gallery. Students can drag them onto their canvas and connect them. Here is where the workflow feedback comes into the picture. When students build their workflow, they get feedback on their design. The feedback aims at steering the student in the right direction. It includes the reason a particular connection is not correct or what is missing.

By carefully reading the feedback, students can build their workflow independently and confidently, saving the teachers time. The students learn:

  • The order of the steps in the experiment
  • The reason for this order
  • The consequences of skipping a step.

The detail of feedback is based on the level of the students and the wish of the teacher. For example, first-year students probably need more support than third-year students.

To prepare for a practical, usually students must copy all the manual protocols into a paper lab journal. The teacher checks the lab journal of each student before each lab session, this takes up a lot of precious lab time.
Do you recognise this? Then keep on reading!
LabBuddy offers an integrated* Lab journal functionality whereby the paper lab journal belongs to the past.
It saves time for students as they no longer copy the protocols but just add notes to existing protocols. Students can take notes at each protocol step before, during or after the practical. It is also possible to upload datasheets, photos, and images.
On the other hand, it also saves time for teachers and assistants as they no longer have to check the paper lab journals.

It saves teachers and assistants time as they no longer have to check the paper lab journals.

The lab journal is available as a Microsoft Word file. This makes it easy to convert the lab journal into a lab report ready to hand in.

*The lab journal is fully integrated into the Experiment Designer

Part of laboratory work is making a thorough planning of the experiment. This planning is necessary to ensure that you have access to the materials, chemicals, and equipment needed.

For practical reasons, most of the planning is carried out by teachers and technical assistants. At the same time, students have a lot to learn when it comes to planning an experiment. For example, students often don't realise that there are only a few tabletop centrifuges in the lab and that it is best to centrifuge multiple samples at once to save time. As a result, they prepare one sample and centrifuge it instead of preparing multiple samples or sharing the centrifuge with classmates. Unfortunately, this means other students must wait their turn, delaying their experiment.

With LabBuddy’s booking module, students can book the machinery and equipment they need for the experiment and plan the lab time slots themselves. Using the booking module has the following advantages:

  • It teaches students a sense of ownership of their experiment;
  • It gives them independence;
  • They learn what the situation may look like in a real-life laboratory;
  • They learn to use equipment efficiently as they realise that the availability of equipment is limited.

In addition, it saves the assistant’s time as students know in advance that they should use the equipment at the booked time slot.

This feature is available for all LabBuddy users, as the booking module is highly customisable. An overview of all bookings is available for teachers and assistants.

Let us know if you are interested!

As a teacher, you would want to follow each student's progress while they are preparing for your lab course. This can be a challenge, especially when the student-to-teacher ratio is high.
With LabBuddy's Student Monitoring Module, it is easy to monitor the progress of students in real-time. The module gives teachers a clear overview of student progress, offering a quick glance to identify if the student is fully prepared for the lab class or needs extra guidance.

Effective laboratory education encourages and supports curiosity and inquisitiveness in the lab rather than cookbook-following behaviour. However, teachers often struggle when having to engage with poorly prepared and unmotivated students who ask many low-level questions.

By letting students design their own experiment, they develop a sense of ownership and responsibility and an incentive to come to the lab well-prepared. On the other hand, traditional methods create much additional work for teachers. The solution to this dilemma is LabBuddys' Experiment Designer, or ExperD in short. It is the tool where all LabBuddy’s features come together.

In the ExperD, students design their experiments without a traditional practical manual. Instead, the practical manual is presented in small building blocks. These building blocks contain information at different levels of complexity depending on the background level of the students. For example, third-year students can handle DNA extraction from blood as one step in an experiment whereas first-year students might need smaller steps such as centrifuge blood sample. The teacher maintains complete control: designs of students can be as closed or open-ended as desired and in line with the practical learning goals.

Students are activated by automated feedback on their design and questions about the design process methods. Then, they can use their ExperD to keep an overview of the lab work at hand. In combination with good preparation, the just-in-time information takes away some of the cognitive overload that results in low-level questions.

Many laboratory techniques have written protocols. LabBuddy's e-learning solution offers the student the techniques that are available to include in their experiment design. The protocols of these techniques are integrated into LabBuddy's Experiment Designer and give the students the instructions to execute the techniques.

LabBuddy's interactive Protocols come with several features to promote student learning!

LabBuddy is designed to reduce the cognitive load to promote learning. This is accomplished by presenting the protocols in clear steps with the information separated into theoretical information and practical information. The theoretical information is presented in the PREPARE mode, whereas detailed instructions are presented in the WORK mode. In the WORK mode, the student uses LabBuddy in the lab.

 

Interactive tooltips tell the student what a pipette looks like, whilst avoiding the split attention effect.

Images, videos, timers and questions are integrated into the protocol!

Students prepare pipetting tables; their calculations are checked by LabBuddy, saving time for the supervising staff!

Students learn best when actively engaged in the learning process and want to accomplish the learning goals. Asking students questions related to their tasks encourages them to actively engage with the topic, resulting in better learning. It is then no surprise that in our ExperD we emphasised closed questions with tailored feedback, all at the level of the student’s understanding.

Example of a question from a 2nd year molecular cell biology practical at the University of Amsterdam

The closed questions help students better understand the use of protocols and how they fit in the larger frame of the practical. They also help students with the following:

  • Gain insight into the steps of the protocol
  • Formulate a research question or hypothesis
  • Learn to interpret results
  • Practice chemical calculations

Each question contains a highly detailed level of feedback to help students understand why their answer is wrong and lead them to the correct answer.

Questions can be as diverse as the content of the practical itself:

  • Pipetting schemes
  • Identifying structures
  • Predicting results
  • Chemical calculations

You name it, and we make it!

Besides the questions explicitly made for your practical, LabBuddy offers a library* of existing questions used by other institutions.

*The library contains questions and methods of courses. LabBuddys' clients have agreed to share their content with other LabBuddy users under the creative commons licence rules. Using this content means that users also share their content in this library.

Find out more here (link).

One of the primary purposes of LabBuddy's e-learning solution is to let students design their own experiment. LabBuddy provides the methods in a gallery. Students can drag them onto their canvas and connect them. Here is where the workflow feedback comes into the picture. When students build their workflow, they get feedback on their design. The feedback aims at steering the student in the right direction. It includes the reason a particular connection is not correct or what is missing.

By carefully reading the feedback, students can build their workflow independently and confidently, saving the teachers time. The students learn:

  • The order of the steps in the experiment
  • The reason for this order
  • The consequences of skipping a step.

The detail of feedback is based on the level of the students and the wish of the teacher. For example, first-year students probably need more support than third-year students.

To prepare for a practical, usually students must copy all the manual protocols into a paper lab journal. The teacher checks the lab journal of each student before each lab session, this takes up a lot of precious lab time.
Do you recognise this? Then keep on reading!
LabBuddy offers an integrated* Lab journal functionality whereby the paper lab journal belongs to the past.
It saves time for students as they no longer copy the protocols but just add notes to existing protocols. Students can take notes at each protocol step before, during or after the practical. It is also possible to upload datasheets, photos, and images.
On the other hand, it also saves time for teachers and assistants as they no longer have to check the paper lab journals.

It saves teachers and assistants time as they no longer have to check the paper lab journals.

The lab journal is available as a Microsoft Word file. This makes it easy to convert the lab journal into a lab report ready to hand in.

*The lab journal is fully integrated into the Experiment Designer

Part of laboratory work is making a thorough planning of the experiment. This planning is necessary to ensure that you have access to the materials, chemicals, and equipment needed.

For practical reasons, most of the planning is carried out by teachers and technical assistants. At the same time, students have a lot to learn when it comes to planning an experiment. For example, students often don't realise that there are only a few tabletop centrifuges in the lab and that it is best to centrifuge multiple samples at once to save time. As a result, they prepare one sample and centrifuge it instead of preparing multiple samples or sharing the centrifuge with classmates. Unfortunately, this means other students must wait their turn, delaying their experiment.

With LabBuddy’s booking module, students can book the machinery and equipment they need for the experiment and plan the lab time slots themselves. Using the booking module has the following advantages:

  • It teaches students a sense of ownership of their experiment;
  • It gives them independence;
  • They learn what the situation may look like in a real-life laboratory;
  • They learn to use equipment efficiently as they realise that the availability of equipment is limited.

In addition, it saves the assistant’s time as students know in advance that they should use the equipment at the booked time slot.

This feature is available for all LabBuddy users, as the booking module is highly customisable. An overview of all bookings is available for teachers and assistants.

Let us know if you are interested!

As a teacher, you would want to follow each student's progress while they are preparing for your lab course. This can be a challenge, especially when the student-to-teacher ratio is high.
With LabBuddy's Student Monitoring Module, it is easy to monitor the progress of students in real-time. The module gives teachers a clear overview of student progress, offering a quick glance to identify if the student is fully prepared for the lab class or needs extra guidance.