Change Process for a Laboratory Program

Stefan G. Huth, Emma Yench, Ian Potter, Elizabeth Johnson


An approach to develop a skills-oriented laboratory program for 2nd- and 3rd-year chemistry at La Trobe University is presented. In addition to the educational principles underlying this approach, practical aspects of its implementation and preliminary data from student surveys will be discussed.

The redeveloped laboratory program aims to systematically build students’ laboratory skills, ranging from basic manipulation and safety skills to more complex inquiry and problem solving capabilities, over the course of years 2 and 3. This project is embedded in an ongoing university-wide curriculum restructure (Design for Learning), which aims to align the curriculum with the University’s graduate capabilities. It has also been accepted as a SaMnet action-learning project.

The changes will be implemented in three stages (reorganisation; development of new activities; consolidation and evaluation) over a three-year period, starting in 2012 for 2nd year and 2013 for 3rd year. Key challenges of this process including strategy development, obtaining support from stakeholders, efficient use of limited resources and evaluation will be discussed.

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