BioLabPrep: maximising learning in the laboratory environment

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
Trinity College Dublin

Primary Contact
Dr Áine Kelly

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


This T&L initiative addresses pillar two of the DELTA Framework- Teaching and Learning Practice – through the development of effective pre-practical activities to support student learning in biological science.

Laboratory-based practical classes are a cornerstone of high-quality teaching and learning in science. Students cannot develop a full understanding of scientific concepts without insights developed via time spent performing supervised experimental work, which requires significant investment time from educators and students.

Maximising the effectiveness of laboratory time results in better outcomes for students through increasing student engagement and promoting deeper learning. This is best achieved by ensuring students arrive at the laboratory appropriately prepared for each class.

Available evidence indicates that pre-laboratory instructional videos increase engagement during practical classes, increasing student learning. Digital technologies in the enhancement of teaching and learning will be employed through the development of a suite of web-based interactive resources to support laboratory teaching and learning – (i) videos demonstrating key concepts and techniques for pre-practical preparation; (ii) electronic glossaries of terms/definitions and (iii) multiple choice assessment banks for pre-practical assessments that include feedback to students. In advance of each class, students will work through directed exercises relating to that week’s practical and take an online pre-practical test. The pre-practical test will contribute to in-course summative assessment and will ensure that students engage with pre-practical preparation.

The resources will represent best practice in teaching and assessment and will be adaptable across educational contexts. They will be disseminated through Trinity committees and through professional associations and networks.