University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 10134-10141
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0917
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Both Cell Biology and Histology are two of the major courses in the health science and biology curriculum and are considered two of the most difficult topics. Traditional lecture and laboratory instruction of both these courses have shifted to an increased emphasis on active-learning and student-centered pedagogies: self-learning, collaborative activities, problem solving and interactive computer- based learning (1, 2). In this context, we propose a new approach using case-based learning activity integrated in the lecture organization in order to develop scientific skills, improve students’ attitudes and help students to identify performance gaps.

The goals of this work are to:
1) describe how we have implemented our activity learning;
2) analyze students’ science-specific skills;
3) analyze the change in students’ motivation; and
4) discuss significant advantages and disadvantages encountered in order to learn from our experience.

Material and methods:
This activity pertains to the lecture portion of two courses of Cell Biology and Histology, which typically enroll between 55-65 students. The course was taught in a traditional lecture format but emphasizing active learning and student-centered pedagogy. From scientific news about a significant current issue related with health, students have to work through a combination of learning strategies to explain the report in a viewpoint of Cell Biology and/or Histology. We have diagnosed students’ scientific skills (identify, describe, analyze, use information in new contexts, bibliographic searching, etc.) and explored their opinion about this experience.

Results and conclusions:
We have developed a tool in order to bring Cell Biology and Histology to students through a real world working and position students in a professional context. Moreover, it can be used to assist students to achieve skills that require higher levels of thinking and to become more autonomous learners. By working through a combination of learning strategies students will correlate the involvement of cell constituents with cell function, how cell form tissues and finally, they will understand that the organism is the result of coordinated functioning of all their cells. Students appreciated the introduction of active learning but their sense of learning is greater with the traditional lecture. Students resist active learning approaches because these alternatives provide a contrast to the very familiar passive listening role to which they have become accustomed.
Active learning, case-based learning, scientific skills, cell biology teaching, histology teaching.