Students need to have developed key skills throughout their degree that mean they’re ready to join the workforce. Every LabSim or Smart Worksheet we build allows students to practise at least one of these key skills.
As a result of our research, we’ve identified seven skills that students need to develop to support their practical competence.Discover more about our identification process
Students who are able to use equipment successfully understand the techniques and associated instrumentation in a particular field. They can also explain the theoretical basis for a technique and its limitations.
Students who can successfully design and plan experiments are able to apply scientific principles and methodologies to address both theoretical and practical problems.
They are aware of the importance of including appropriate controls, as well as issues around possible bias, ethics and sustainability. They can plan independent investigations, and assess and report the significance of outcomes.
Students who are skilled in obtaining and recording data are able to apply a variety of methods of study to investigate and record information and data. They can demonstrate independent, accurate collection and recording of both qualitative and quantitative data.
Students skilled in interpreting and analysing data can critically evaluate data to inform their conclusions and solve problems. They can make decisions based on data collected and use this to test hypotheses, contextualise their findings and consider further lines of investigation. They understand a range of methodologies, including the application of appropriate statistical methods and other analytical tools.
Students skilled in manipulating data can choose and deploy the most appropriate mathematical and statistical processes or tools to evaluate, present and communicate their data in an appropriate format. Their presentation is informed by an understanding of the context of the investigation.
Students successfully engaging with concepts, principles and theories are able to discuss and explain related scientific rules and laws. They are able to show evidence of enquiry around these and apply their understanding to solve well-defined theoretical and practical problems, and to evaluate data from these.
Students undertaking laboratory or fieldwork need to understand the importance of establishing and maintaining safe working practices. They can describe, document and enact these practices by assessing, managing and mitigating risks, through knowledge-based risk assessments and practical activities. They can select the appropriate hazard control and reduction or elimination techniques in accordance with health and safety legislation.
We undertook research to help us identify our top level skills. This included:
QAA Subject Benchmark Statements describe the academic standards expected of graduates by the end of their studies. We compiled a list of all skills specified in the latest Chemistry, Biomedical Sciences and Biosciences Statements and extracted the skills applicable to LabSims.
Through partner visits, discussions and surveys with our community of educators, students and employers, we researched opinions on which skills graduates should have developed prior to entering the workplace.
The accreditation handbooks from Institute of Biomedical Science, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry describe the requirements for a degree programme to meet professional standards. We compiled a list of all skills specified in all handbooks and extracted the skills applicable to our current products.
Job profiles and adverts list the skills specified as required for each role.
We analysed how often each skill appeared to create a shortlist of the top skills. Similar skills were grouped together e.g. analyse, interpret and assess.
A great way of evidencing the skills achieved is through badging. As students work through graded and non-graded material to complete modules, they are awarded digital badges for having gained the relevant skills.
Badging is delivered within a university’s or institution’s platform, and therefore doesn’t form part of LearnSci’s solution. However, we offer supporting documents to guide you on the technical requirements for setting up badging using Moodle, Blackboard or Canvas.
The University of Maynooth used the Moodle badging plug-in alongside our LabSims to increase students’ awareness of and engagement in skills development, improving their competency for employment. Read about their success in our case study.