Role building in the lab through the introduction of questionnaires
With increasing numbers of students, how can a limited number of experimental set-ups in the laboratory be used more effectively? And how can the exchange of knowledge between students be increased? We addressed these questions in the last pre-Corona semester as part of the qualification programme “Research-based Learning at the TUHH”.
For this purpose, we incorporated accompanying questionnaires into a mechatronic laboratory. By role-playing within the small groups, active participation should be encouraged and knowledge deepened by explaining things to each other.
The lab was conducted in small groups of up to five people. While this enables group work on the one hand, too large a group size can make communication difficult on the other. This is due to the fact that the experiment is controlled via software and thus simultaneous interaction of all students with the mechatronic system is not possible. Therefore, a number of two students per set-up would be ideal, but is not possible due to the limited number of experimental set-ups.
As accompanying material, the groups each received task sheets, which represent a guideline for the concrete implementation of the laboratory, and questionnaires, on the basis of which the tasks were to be scrutinised. This division was intended to promote a distribution of roles within the small groups. The “practitioners” deal with the implementation of the tasks, while the “theorists” work on the questionnaires. A reflection on the questionnaires takes place through a subsequent discussion between the teachers.
For the evaluation of the project, the students answered questions in the form of a traffic light barometer at the end of the lab. From the experience of the implementation and the evaluation, it was clear that the questionnaires contributed to the students’ understanding. The exchange between the roles should be further increased. It is interesting that there was also an exchange of knowledge between the different groups, which should be further promoted through targeted methods.
Literatur:  M. Gleßmer, S. Knutzen, P. Salden: „Die Spannung steigern: Laborpraktika didaktisch gestalten“; Schriften zur Didaktik in den Ingenieurwissenschaften Nr. 3 (ZLL)