New teaching strategies in genetics

My experience with teaching genetics (at the bachelor and master level) is that most students have difficulties to comprehend and connect to genetics. One of the major challenges the students face when having lectures in genetics may relate to multidisciplinary thinking needed for understanding the theory. The students need to connect features and rules from a range of previous courses in e.g. mathematics, biochemistry and biology, in order to comprehend and advance in skill acquisition in genetics.

The present project therefore aimed at implementing the use of alternative learning techniques (i.e. examples to illustrate theory and short lectures followed by lecturer assisted student discussions) in the teaching of genetics and to evaluate how well the students acts to the teaching. These techniques of designing and evaluating teaching activities are essential the use of Biggs (1999) constructive alignment theory.

I additionally wrote an essay based on Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1980) five stage model of skill acquisition, where I pay particular attention to the learning process in genetics in relation to the five stages in skill acquisition. I focused on exemplifying and discussing the presented model for skill acquisition in relation to the academic hierarchy and skill advancement in genetics.

Based on the results of the project, I concluded that frequent use of examples in teaching of genetics and implementing lecturer assisted group discussions may result in more active students that reach higher skill levels. Additionally, the use of constructive alignment will increase the learning outcome for both the students and me in future courses in genetics.

Biggs J (1999) What the student does: Teaching for enhanced learning. High Educ Res Dev 18:57-75.
Dreyfus H, Dreyfus S (1980) A five stage model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition. Washington DC, Storming Media. 18 p.