Effects of different delivery modes on teaching biomedical science practical skills in higher education during the 2021 pandemic measures

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The COVID-19 pandemic related measures had augmented the rise of online education. While online teaching had mitigated the negative impacts from educational institutional closures, it was unable to displace hands-on biomedical laboratory practical lessons effectively. Without practical sessions, there was concern over the imparting of laboratory skills even with video demonstrations. To investigate the effectiveness of different delivery modes in imparting laboratory skills, theoretical and practical student assessments were analyzed alongside an anonymous survey on their motivation and prior experience. The undergraduate students were exposed to (1) instructor-live demonstration; (2) video demonstration or (3) no demonstration prior to the practical test which was a plasmid extraction. Significantly higher mini-prep yields and purity were found for both instructor-live and video demonstrations compared to no demonstration. Comparison with pre-pandemic theoretical assessment performance showed no significant differences despite longer contact hours during pre-pandemic times. Prior lab experience and motivation for selecting the course did not significantly affect student mini-prep yields. In conclusion, our findings suggest that video demonstrations were as effective as instructor-live demonstrations during the pandemic without noticeably compromising the teaching and learning of biomedical laboratory skills.

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education

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