This Work-In-Progress describes a study that aims to assess the effect of guided instruction on students in commonly misunderstood topics in a troubleshooting lab course. The Troubleshooting of Clinically Relevant Devices lab course exposes senior level students to principles of operation, common failures, and preventive maintenance in clinically relevant lab equipment such as the centrifuge, refrigerator, syringe pump, suction pump, microscope and oxygen concentrator. The course is designed to help students practice the troubleshooting process using created failure modes. Students demonstrate learning through performance on pre-lab, in class performance, quiz and lab report grades. Briefly, the course utilizes a flipped classroom format where all students watch lecture videos and complete course readings and pre-labs individually before class. In previous course iterations, students communicated a confusion surrounding common parts critical to the device functioning. To address this feedback and specifically see how guided instruction can impact the level of process knowledge in all student populations, we performed this study. The guided instruction intervention took the format of a worksheet where students had to identify major subcomponents of key parts in devices often through the form of diagram part identification and brainstorm failure modes of the subcomponents and methods of failure diagnosis. For the centrifuge module in particular, students were guided to tear down a DC motor and older and newer centrifuge models and identify related failures and differences in operation. Students were encouraged to discuss among each other and utilize research as needed. Completion grades were awarded for these worksheets. Students encouraged to study commonly misunderstood topics without guided instruction worksheets were considered the control group (n=15) while those given the guided instruction worksheets on commonly misunderstood topics were considered the experimental groups (n=15, already completed). The effect of the guided instruction was assessed using three measures for control and experimental groups: qualitative survey to evaluate effect of intervention on knowledge gained in the course, end of semester quiz covering commonly misunderstood topics and application of principles to related topics, laboratory report performance. Statistical analyses using the student’s t test suggested that guided instruction increases long-term retention and understanding of the major components and principles of operation of the devices covered in the troubleshooting laboratory modules. Furthermore, confidence in troubleshooting skills (as seen in the survey data) was observed to increase among students in the experimental group. Collection of additional experimental and control data will confirm our observation.
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