Exploring laboratory and field-based practical provision within sport science-related undergraduate programmes: an audit of UK-based higher education institutions

Smith, Mark F. (2011) Exploring laboratory and field-based practical provision within sport science-related undergraduate programmes: an audit of UK-based higher education institutions. Project Report. Higher Education Academy.

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Abstract

The ambition of this research project was to conduct an investigation examining the extent of current laboratory/field-based practical provision across a wide range of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) delivering sport science-related programmes. Undertaken between August and September 2010, an online survey was administered to 64 UK-based HEI currently delivering sport science-related undergraduate degree programmes. With a response rate of 36% (23 HEI), findings revealed that significantly more (P < 0.001) practical laboratory/field-based engagement occurs for physiology-related modules when compared to psychology and biomechanics, despite assessment weighting being equal across the three disciplines. Such finding was supported by a greater range of laboratory provision to support teaching and learning activity in physiology. Furthermore, it was noted that teaching support from technician and postgraduate researchers were higher in physiology than in the other two areas. Across all three year one modules, the most important elements of practical work in year one were laboratory procedures and techniques and investigating experiments, whilst the highest ranked aims were teaching core skills and techniques and linking theory to practice. A total of 78% HEI felt current barriers existed to effective year one practical laboratory/field-based teaching and learning. Among the highest ranked were resources and facilities, time allocation with the curriculum and class size. Interestingly, the average class size for physiology and biomechanics-related modules was 19, whilst for psychology it was 23. The most popular teaching methods/activities during practical work were tutor-led seminars, tutor-led demonstrations, and laboratory/field-based experiments. In assessing year one practical work, all three disciplines favoured laboratory reports as the main assessment tool. Psychology-related modules had a strong emphasis on essay-style assessments to evaluate practical activity. Based on these findings HEI offer a broad practical curriculum to year one students studying sport science-related degree programmes. Consideration by programme teams as to the nature of practical teaching and learning strategies, as well as variation in assessment methods/activities across year one disciplines/modules, should be made.

Item Type:Paper or Report (Project Report)
Additional Information:The ambition of this research project was to conduct an investigation examining the extent of current laboratory/field-based practical provision across a wide range of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) delivering sport science-related programmes. Undertaken between August and September 2010, an online survey was administered to 64 UK-based HEI currently delivering sport science-related undergraduate degree programmes. With a response rate of 36% (23 HEI), findings revealed that significantly more (P < 0.001) practical laboratory/field-based engagement occurs for physiology-related modules when compared to psychology and biomechanics, despite assessment weighting being equal across the three disciplines. Such finding was supported by a greater range of laboratory provision to support teaching and learning activity in physiology. Furthermore, it was noted that teaching support from technician and postgraduate researchers were higher in physiology than in the other two areas. Across all three year one modules, the most important elements of practical work in year one were laboratory procedures and techniques and investigating experiments, whilst the highest ranked aims were teaching core skills and techniques and linking theory to practice. A total of 78% HEI felt current barriers existed to effective year one practical laboratory/field-based teaching and learning. Among the highest ranked were resources and facilities, time allocation with the curriculum and class size. Interestingly, the average class size for physiology and biomechanics-related modules was 19, whilst for psychology it was 23. The most popular teaching methods/activities during practical work were tutor-led seminars, tutor-led demonstrations, and laboratory/field-based experiments. In assessing year one practical work, all three disciplines favoured laboratory reports as the main assessment tool. Psychology-related modules had a strong emphasis on essay-style assessments to evaluate practical activity. Based on these findings HEI offer a broad practical curriculum to year one students studying sport science-related degree programmes. Consideration by programme teams as to the nature of practical teaching and learning strategies, as well as variation in assessment methods/activities across year one disciplines/modules, should be made.
Keywords:Practical Skills, Education, bmjlink
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:4480
Deposited By: Mark F Smith
Deposited On:20 May 2011 11:55
Last Modified:11 Jul 2012 12:23

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