An interactive, student-centered approach, adopting the SOLO taxonomy, for learning to analyze laboratory data in veterinary clinical pathology

Paul J Canfield, Mark B Krockenberger
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2002, 29 (1): 56-61

INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to describe and evaluate an interactive, student-centered teaching strategy for learning to analyze laboratory data in veterinary clinical pathology. The strategy was designed to operate in tutorials of approximately one hour duration and adopted the structure of the observed learning outcome (SOLO) taxonomy in order to align with outcomes and assessment components of unit of study design and to encourage a deep approach to learning.

METHODOLOGY: The teaching strategy adopted group discussion and reflective observation as core activities. Students worked alone in identifying abnormal laboratory data, in pairs in discussing possible reasons for the abnormalities, and in two larger groups in deciding on conclusions for, and further investigation and management of, the case. The final debriefing brought the two groups together to reflect, question, and reach a consensus about the case. The teaching strategy was evaluated on the basis of its success in encouraging interaction through discussion, developing self confidence in analyzing laboratory data, and enhancing understanding as to how the disciplines of veterinary clinical pathology and veterinary medicine interrelate. Evaluation used self-reflection, peer feedback, and a student questionnaire.

CONCLUSION: The teaching strategy provided the opportunity for students to develop and practice an approach to the analysis of laboratory data in a manner consistent with current educational thinking on student-centered learning. The use of group discussion and significant reflective practice not only enhanced interpersonal skills but also encouraged a deep approach to learning, leading to ownership of knowledge and increased awareness of the worth of veterinary clinical pathology in the investigative process.

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