STRATEGIES TO INVOLVE THE STUDENTS IN THEIR LEARNING IN A BIOCHEMISTRY LABORATORY

Practical classes in the laboratory are an essential component of higher education in Science areas. Students not only have to learn how to handle the different instruments, to apply the necessary techniques and to acquire Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), but they also need to connect the theory with the experimental part, they must solve different kinds of problems, write a laboratory notebook, interpret data, present results, interact with teachers and other students, etc. Teachers, in turn, must guide students through this complex process.

Therefore, it is necessary to provide the student with tools that increase their involvement in learning, using different strategies. In this work we present our experience in a 2nd- year Laboratory of the Biochemistry Grade at the University Complutense of Madrid in which we have implemented these approaches:
1- Designing specific pre-laboratory activities for the subject, such as MCQ tests, video tutorials or templates for the laboratory notebook. The aim is to prepare students to perform the practical sessions, increasing their understanding of the task to be addressed, as well as their confidence and motivation for working in the laboratory.
2- Rethinking the assessment in the different blocks of the subject, to get a higher involvement of the student in learning. Assessment process determines the attitude of the student towards the subject. For the evaluation to be formative, feedback is key. Proper feedback activates the student's responsibility in their learning and allows the readjustment of the activities developed by the teacher.
3- Carrying out alternative training activities developed in previous courses, which provide the student with new scientific perspectives such as joining a workshop-type day and visiting the Department's facilities.