Bristol University's School of Chemistry recognised a need to improve the way in which students approached practical labs.
Learning Science worked closely with them to create an innovative online learning tool, transforming teaching and learning across the entire syllabus.
The project has won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year.
Bristol ChemLabS envisaged an online environment that students could access before carrying out a particular practical investigation. They decided to approach Learning Science to explore available technologies and establish what could be achieved.
The collaboration with Learning Science resulted in a dynamic partnership. Academics, students and educational staff had full input into the project, whilst different approaches highlighted by Learning Science sparked new ideas and generated a range of solutions that went far beyond initial expectations. The result was the Dynamic Lab Manual...
The ChemLabS DLM has transformed the laboratory experience for chemistry undergraduates at Bristol.
Dynamic Lab Manuals offer a virtual learning environment that allows students to explore, experiment and learn before and after lessons. Accessible from any computer with an internet connection, the DLM contains a complete video library of practical techniques, fully interactive simulations and virtual instruments, online pre-lab assessment and safety tests, and tutorial support.
The Dynamic Lab Manual is linked with software that allows academic staff and demonstrators to track and monitor how students perform in the prelab and safety tests.
The staff member can thus see at a glance which students need to be spoken to at the start of the laboratory.
One of the main innovations has been to shift the balance of work done outside the laboratory to before rather than after the practical class. Students are much better prepared and therefore more confident.
Such has been the success of this project that ChemLabS has become known as a pioneer for innovation and technology. University chemistry departments in the UK, North America, Asia and Australia and Africa are using a customised version of the DLM. The DLM methodology is also now spreading into other science disciplines and into secondary school science.
To find out more about the project, visit http://www.chemlabs.bris.ac.uk/.
eBioLabs is a Dynamic Lab Manual for the Biosciences that has seen noticeable improvements in student performance.
Dynamic Lab Manuals were developed through a partnership between Learning Science and Bristol University's Chemistry Department. The project was so successful that the Department of Biochemistry asked Learning Science to help them develop their own Dynamic Lab Manual, completely tailored to their needs.
The delivery of laboratory-based courses has been transformed - they are now some of the most active, discovery-led sessions learners encounter in their university careers.
Because eBioLabs includes tools that automatically mark student assignments, and tools that allow academics to easily track student attendance and achievement, the marking and administrative burden associated with running practicals is very significantly reduced.
As well as the electronic assessment functionality, the DLM contains an individualised repository for learners to record and reflect on their achievements, as well as tools to allow learners to interact with each other and with their instructors.
The Department of Biochemistry has seen such fundamental improvements in student
performance that courses to support physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and pathology
are currently being deployed across the
The project has also sparked further innovation in learning. In Pharmacology units have been developed which strengthen the links between the experiment and the theory. In Physiology we have pioneered the use of automatic marking and analysis of complex data from variety of human subjects.
To find out more about the project, visit http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ebiolabs/.
Media-rich, interactive e-learning for Chemistry.
"A groundbreaking program" - Times Educational Supplement
LabSkills is used by thousands of schools and universities and in over 30 countries around the world. First published in 2008, the resource contains media rich e-learning tools that develop skills and build confidence in experimental science.
We used LabSkills in preparation for a coursework assessment involving
titration and all students found it easy to follow through the materials and complete the test
at the end. As a result of this more focused intervention strategy all students were able to
score highly on the assessment and unlike previous years none will have to repeat the
With support from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the TDA (Training and Development Agency for Schools) and ASE (Association for Science Education), a version of LabSkills is now in every secondary school in the UK (more than 5000), and over 2000 trainee science teachers have been given access. Versions of LabSkills have been sold within Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
The program was incredibly easy to use and the students found it so refreshing to be able to go at their own speed and do the interactive exercises multiple times if that's what they needed. Compared with previous years in which I've taught the grades were significantly better (ca. 8%) with most students achieving C+ or above.
Learning Science has developed several educational web projects that engage and inspire students at Key Stage 4 and Post-16 level.
Projects such as Masterminding Molecules and Chemistry in your Cupboard for the Royal Society of Chemistry focus on a specific, targeted learning area. They encourage students to experiment, make decisions, and learn through doing, not just through reading instructions.
The Royal Society of Chemistry, in collaboration with Pfizer, asked us to deliver an engaging resource that introduced 14-16 year olds to real-life situations, inspiring them to consider a career in the industry.
We developed, tested and launched Masterminding Molecules: a visually stimulating and accessible educational game that develops students' problem-solving and analytical skills. Our ability to understand and appreciate the science, and how it could be mirrored in the game, was a key factor in the project's success.
Masterminding Molecules is one of the centrepieces of the educational resources promoted by the RSC to schools in the UK and abroad.
Visit the Masterminding Molecules website.
The Royal Society of Chemistry asked Learning Science to deliver an interactive online resource that helped post-16 year old students to discover 'how science works'.
We developed, tested and launched Chemistry in your Cupboard: a dynamic, interactive site that explores the chemistry of well-known household products - from painkillers to washing powder.
Chemistry in your Cupboard is a popular, widely-used tool that stimulates interest, and links to the curriculum. Questions are included throughout to encourage learning and test understanding.
Visit the Chemistry in your Cupboard website.
With the help of Learning Science, we have created engaging activities that are based
around the discovery of new medicines and are designed to develop problem-solving skills as well
as to illustrate the link between academic courses and real-world applications.
By introducing students to real-life problems and situations, the full breadth of
opportunities offered through chemistry
Learning Science enables publishers to be at the forefront of educational technology developments, so that they can deliver market leading publications that will be accessible and useable in the long term.
We help publishers introduce cutting edge technology into their traditional publications, delivering a personalised learning experience to students and a wealth of tools that support teaching staff.
Learning Science can develop resources across technology platforms that reach target audiences through new media, touch screen devices and apps.
Learning Science has worked with publishers to develop interactive media that enriches and enlivens science for students of all ages. Projects include:
Learning Science’s innovative learning solutions can help your publications stand out in new and growing markets.
Online learning - for students and for teachers - is one of the fastest growing trends in educational uses of technology.