Table 1

Steps for organizing an integrated laboratory classes
Step 1: Identification Step 2: Preparation Step 3: Implementation
The committee members of each block identify topics/areas that can be taught in integrated practical classes. For each integrated practical class, the working group has to meet approximately 4–5 times to prepare for a practical class. Usually they start meeting about 4–5 weeks prior to the date of the class. Each practical class is 2-hour long and is conducted three times to ensure that the maximum number of students attending is about 90 students. Students are then allocated into two equal groups, Groups A and B, of 45 students each.
The organizing working group for each practical class comprises an academic from the biochemistry, microbiology, pathology and medical education disciplines. The preparation and organization covers the following areas: Group A students started in the Pathology Laboratory at Level 1 and worked on case scenarios for one hour. The case scenarios aimed at providing students with skills to integrate knowledge from biochemistry, microbiology, and pathology related to topic covered.
• Defining the learning outcomes of the practical class. Group B students started in the Multipurpose Laboratory at level 2 and worked on a laboratory procedure related to the practical class for one hour (e.g., measurement of serum bilirubin). Students were then asked to switch to the other Lab to complete the second task for another one hour.
• Designing the educational components and tasks to be completed by students. At the end of each component, students discussed the tasks with their tutors and received feedback. At the end of the practical class, students were asked to complete a questionnaire.
• Organising the sequence of the practical class activities, and time allocated for each activity, discussion, the procedure component, and feedback on tasks. In some practical classes, a pre- and post-test comprising 15 single-best MCQs were endorsed. Students were asked to answer all questions at the beginning of the practical class and then the same questions, but in a different order, were answered by students at the end of the class.
• Organising the purchase of kits, calibrating equipment, and preparing the experimental protocol.
• Piloting, for some practical classes, to ensure successful implementation. Ensuring that all facilitators are briefed about the practical class and understand their role.
• Preparing students’ hands-out, instructions, tasks, case scenarios, biochemistry lab results, pathology and microbiology image to be included in the tasks.
• Allocating students into groups and logistics for the design of the practical class.

Azer et al.

Azer et al. BMC Medical Education 2013 13:71   doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-71

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