Use of LabTutor improves student engagement and achievement in ECG and EEG practical classes

Derek Anthony Scott, Elaine Lyall, Alison Lawrence Davidson, Iain Rowe, Alison Strath

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review

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When students are being taught physiological measurement techniques, they may find it difficult to stay enthused and engaged when trying to perform such novel/complex tasks. Problems with equipment setup, calibration, and perceiving relevance to real-life situations can mean that students become disheartened, overwhelmed or fail to understand the point of the exercise. The LabTutor computer-based system (AD Instruments) provides step-by-step instructions for the students to help learn such techniques. Patient cases are integrated into the practical tasks. Practical results and student answers may be uploaded electronically for instructor marking later.
Specific Research Question
This study aimed to discover whether use of LabTutor could improve student engagement and achievement in practical classes.
Two different classes were studied – one teaching basic measurement/interpretation of EEG’s, and the other ECG’s. Students could leave the class when they felt they had completed the assigned work satisfactorily. In 2013-14, equipment setup/technique was demonstrated at the start of the class, with paper-based instructions and submitted practical answers. In 2014-15, students followed the computer-based scenario/instructions provided by LabTutor, submitting their answers electronically. The mark achieved by students and time spent completing the exercise was recorded.
Use of LabTutor produced extremely significant increases in both the mark achieved by students and the time spent voluntarily in completing the practical tasks in both classes. Anonymised feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive regarding use of LabTutor, compared to previous years’ comments where some students felt overwhelmed when trying to learn such measurement techniques.
LabTutor improves student engagement and achievement when learning physiological measurement techniques. Integration of clinical scenarios enhances student appreciation of the activities. Staff reported that students of all backgrounds required less help and found it much easier to work through the tasks. Use of LabTutor may enable increased provision of practical skills training to a wider range of students.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventScottish Clinical Skills Network Annual Conference 2015 - Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 May 20151 May 2015 (Link to Conference Information 2015)


ConferenceScottish Clinical Skills Network Annual Conference 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • LabTutor
  • EEG
  • ECG
  • practical skills
  • practical class
  • education
  • student
  • data capture
  • engagement
  • achievement


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