Case study - Successfully using “home” experiments to enhance 1st-year Optometry students’ communication, engagement and learning

Title of case study/example of best practice:Successfully using “home” experiments to enhance 1st-year Optometry students’ communication, engagement and learning
Lead Author(s):Dr Amit N. Jinabhai
University:University of Manchester
 Lead Author email 
Details of the activity undertaken

Purpose: To support 1st-year Optometry students in developing strong communication skills, allowing them to relay complex information in simple terms.

Methods: I developed a unique, pedagogical approach which supported my learners in conducting “home” experiments, allowing them to ‘visualise’ and ‘assimilate’ key concepts and information, which were supplemented by theoretical lecture notes/on-line videos. Learners were then encouraged to demonstrate and explain their experiments to their classmates/family/friends. Finally, formative assessments were used to evaluate my learners’ knowledge.

Results and Conclusion: My learners provide extremely positive feedback, highlighting that “home” experiments supported their learning, personal confidence and improved their verbal communication skills.

Impact of the activity

In the subsequent live teaching session, it was clear that my learners were able to better appreciate how theory related to practical applications.  

Moreover, my students reported being more confident at being able to verbally explain and physically demonstrate practical applications, using simple household objects, not only to their year-group peers, but also to more ‘lay’ friends and family members.

My learners also reported that taking part in these activities helped them to “reduce any shyness” they may have previously had about giving each other constructive feedback.

Readers should note that the above (conducted at the 1st-year level of studies) will naturally ‘spiral’ into the educational approaches used in the subsequent years of study on their Optometry programme and beyond – for example, giving peers constructive feedback is crucial to CPD.

This case study relates to the following GOC outcomes:

Outcome 1. Person Centred Care ☐

Outcome 2. Communication ☒

Outcome 3. Clinical Care ☐

Outcome 4. Ethics and Standards ☐

Outcome 5. Risk ☐

Outcome 6. Leadership and Management ☐

Outcome 7. Lifelong Learning ☐           

Scaffolding/Student experience & engagement ☐