Abstract by Laura Teinholt Finne
The laboratory is a crucial environment for teaching and learning in university-level science education. Pharmaceutical sciences, including chemistry, heavily rely on the laboratory for discipline-specific learning activities and outcomes. The laboratory is a multifaceted learning environment where numerous factors influence student learning. Through this thesis, I aim to contribute to the comprehension of students' experiences in the teaching laboratory to enhance laboratory teaching and learning. I seek to understand what students in the chemical sciences learn from their laboratory experiences and which factors shape their experience of learning.
By conducting a systematic review of the empirical literature on students' outcomes resulting from laboratory experiences, I outline the intricate nature of the laboratory environment by exploring various multimodal and diverse student learning outcomes. The review identifies five clusters of laboratory-related outcomes: experimental competence, disciplinary learning,
higher-order thinking and epistemic learning, transversal competence, and affective outcomes.
In my empirical study of students’ laboratory experiences, I conducted in-depth semistructured interviews with pharmacy students at the University of Copenhagen. Through a phenomenographic analysis of these interviews, I describe students' perceptions of time and the theory-practice relationship within the laboratory. Some interviews focused on students'
experiences during the lockdown of universities due to COVID-19. This analysis focuses on the students’ experiences of the lab in its absence. Thematic analysis was more suitable than phenomenography due to the considerable similarities among the students’ experiences. Regarding students' experience of time, I illustrate its influential role in the students’ perception of congruence within the laboratory. I show the importance of witnessing the transformations that occur in the laboratory as a prerequisite for developing scientific judgment. In addition, embodied experiences in the laboratory and face-to-face discussions and feedback with teachers emerge as significant aspects of the laboratory learning experience. Lastly, I explore how students perceive the laboratory's role in bridging theory and practice. While some students actively utilise the laboratory experience to comprehend the interplay between theory and practice, others perceive the laboratory as a mere representation of theoretical concepts.
With this PhD thesis, I contribute to understanding laboratory teaching and learning within pharmacy and chemistry education. This research contributes to the ongoing discourse on enhancing the quality and effectiveness of laboratory education in these disciplines.