Researchers Investigate Laboratory Learning – University of Copenhagen

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08 November 2018

Researchers Investigate Laboratory Learning


Laboratory learning is a central aspect of research within the health, medical and natural sciences. Therefore, it is vital that the students acquire the necessary qualifications to get the most out of their time in the laboratory. A new research project will examine the competences acquired by students and seek to determine how they get the best possible learning.

‘Improving Quality of Laboratory Learning at University Level’. This is the title of the new research project that seeks to determine how students and teachers get the most out of their work in the laboratory. The Novo Nordisk Foundation has granted DKK 9.3 million to the project, which is a collaboration between the Department of Pharmacy (SUND) and the Department of Science Education (SCIENCE).

The project, which will run over the next three and a half years, will study laboratory-related competences from the perspective of the students as well as the teachers. Furthermore, the project seeks to determine which factors influence whether the students acquire the desired laboratory competences and whether the teaching affects the way the students think and work in the laboratory.

’Teachers and students spend a lot of time in the laboratory. The courses are expensive, the equipment is valuable, and expenses for teaching equipment are increasing. Therefore, it is important to optimise the time we spend there to get the most out of our visit to the laboratory. Of benefit to future teaching, but also of benefit to the students’ future career’, says Project Manager, Professor Bente Gammelgaard from the Department of Pharmacy.

In addition to Bente Gammelgaard, Associate Professor Frederik V. Christiansen and Associate Professor Jan Alexis Nielsen, both from the Department of Science Education at SCIENCE, also participate in the research project. They emphasise that the project is a way of building pedagogical and didactic expertise within laboratory teaching at university level, thus providing future teachers with the research-based quality criteria on which the teaching is based.

Cross-Disciplinary Knowledge
The project takes students of pharmacy as its starting point. A collaboration between the Department of Pharmacy and an instrument company equips students and teachers at the department with modern equipment, and the students always have access to the latest software. However, the researchers hope experiences from the project will benefit all students and teachers at the University of Copenhagen. 

 ‘This project is important, as it will be able to contribute with knowledge that can lead to significant improvement of the teaching quality of laboratory exercises in the study programme in pharmacy. At the same time, we aim to disseminate this new knowledge across higher education programmes within the health, medical and natural sciences, ensuring that as many as possible gain insight into and can implement the results of the project’, says Berith Bjørnholm, Senior Programme Manager in the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The project will commence on 1 March 2019, and you can read more about it here.

Professor Bente Gammelgaard:, phone: +45 35 33 64 15
Associate Professor Frederik V. Christiansen:, phone: +45 31 37 99 16
Associate Professor Jan Alexis Nielsen:, phone: +45 35 32 03 61