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Developing a Virtual Lab to Teach Essential Biology Laboratory Techniques

Mao Miyamoto, Deborah M. Milkowski, Christine D. Young, Leah A. Lebowicz

Abstract


Laboratory classes have consistently played a crucial role in science education for many years. Common to all labs is the need to understand essential lab techniques. Students often lack this foundational understanding, and this can lead to poor performance or confidence (Gallagher et al. 2008).

Virtual labs have been found to be effective in promoting active learning and increasing performance (Lewis 2014). In this project, a virtual lab for preparing a phosphate-buffered saline solution (PBS) was created to educate undergraduate biology students on essential laboratory techniques. The virtual lab included animations and interactive elements to visually communicate each step.

Content experts provided input on the accuracy of the scientific content throughout development. Focus group testing with biology teaching assistants (TAs) at the University of Illinois at Chicago was conducted to assess the potential effectiveness of the virtual lab.


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