DEVELOPMENT OF DIFFERENT ACTIVE METHODOLOGIES TO IMPROVE THE LEARNING OF ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY: AN EXPERIENCE IN A CHRONOBIOLOGY COURSE
Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Biología (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:In the framework of the European Space for Higher Education (ESHE), competence based learning is an important requirement. Such learning implies new, and also divergent teaching strategies to facilitate that students can acquire a variety of skills and also a longlife learning.
The objective of this experience was to develop different active methodologies for the study of "Chronobiology", a postgraduate subject currently taught at the Animal Physiology II department (UCM). With the use of these new methodologies we aimed that students acquire competences and skills needed for a professional in the Chronobiology field. We have developed three kinds of activities: (1) problems, (2) practices and (3) teacher supervised-reports.
(1) The problem based learning (PBL) encourages active learning, self-directed learning as well as longlife learning. We have designed some specific problems or cases in Chronobiology. Each case has a guide that helps in the use of different Chronobiology tools, necessaries to solve the problems, that are of common use in the study of rhythms and synchronization (including statistical packages, methods of experimental noise filtration, different graphs representations, creation of phase response curves...). These guides let active learning and self-directed learning of the students, improving decision-making, critical evaluation or learning from their own mistakes.
(2) We have also prepared 4 practical sessions. In three of them the student is the own subject of the study, which stimulates learning and participation. These practices consist in measuring the chronotype and studying several daily rhythms. The last practice uses a common animal model in Chronobiology, the goldfish (Carassius auratus), studying the light dependent synchronization of locomotor activity in this species. These practical sessions favor the acquisition of specific abilities and methodological skills for Chronobiology studies, improving the knowledge for analyzing collected data, and stimulating the critical thinking necessary to obtain conclusions in research. Finally, students have to make a collaborative work, reinforcing interpersonal competences, such as cooperation and teamwork, discussing alternative solutions in order to reach a consensus.
(3) The writing of reports favors the development of linguistic abilities, as well as other generic skills such as look for relevant information to solve problems, or the development of critical thinking. We have developed a guide for helping students to elaborate scientific reports in the Animal Physiology field, particularly in Chronobiology.
With the development of these different teaching strategies we have advanced in the adaptation of the "Chronobiology" course to the ESHE, contributing to the implementation of the Bologna process in the UCM. All the tasks prepared will help the students to acquire specific competences in the Chronobiology field, as well as several generic competences and skills as a part of their university education, improving the training for their future professional careers. Finally, this work has also contributed (and particularly the PBL) to the development of e-learning methodologies in the UCM, since the above described materials have been uploaded in the UCM WebCT platform, being easily accessible to students.
This work has been financed by the UCM as 2 Projects of Educational Innovation (PIMCD 720 and 132).
Keywords: Animal Physiology, Chronobiology, Skill, Competence, Learning, PBL.