Practical clips for lab training

This article will show an example of how to set-up and use videoclips for lab training.

Gloved hand holding an orange liquid sample

Course: HNH31106 - Practical Tools in Molecular Nutrition Research
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Course: HNH86336 - MSc Thesis Nutritional Biology
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Course: HNH82436 - MSc Thesis Nutrition, Metabolism and Genomics
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Short Introduction and background

Introduction and story behind the emergence of this learning activity. What was the need, what issue/problem was the teacher facing and wanted to resolve? 

The idea was to create digitalized instructions employing video for an MSc course and MSc thesis students on how to perform lab work. This idea already existed for a long time. The number of students involved in the courses is quite big, and the labs' capacity is limited. 

For the cell culture experiments, you need the extensive capacity to train the students to use the lab and to let them handle the cells by themselves. Previously, the thesis students would receive a lab tour and receive instructions on the basic techniques. Also, they would learn how to carry out the experiments. 

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After receiving the tour and the instructions, the students would do it themselves, supervised by someone in the lab. These tours and instructions would have been given by lecturers, technicians, PhD students, etc. Sometimes even for one or two students at the same time. 

MSc these students can start throughout the year, which gives a continuous cycle of instructions throughout the year. For the MS course, time to provide the students with essential information and clearly describe the methods for cell culture experiment was even more limited. Also, there was a lecture for the master students which included a lot of sending of information, that could be replaced by knowledge clips. Due to, or maybe thanks to corona, we were now encouraged to do really start creating the videos.  

Relevant tools / apps (software) or hardware used

Learning outcome(s)

What has been learned after this lesson/activity has been executed ?

  • Apply cell culture techniques, interpret the results, and incorporate them in a written report
  • Have insight into practical procedures, identify the crucial steps and be able to optimize protocols
  • Carry out experiments independently

For the MSc thesis students who will work in the lab, the practical clips were obligatory. Together with successfully addressing the answers to the related quizzes, they were a prerequisite to enter the cell culture lab. For them, the learning outcomes were to understand the lab basics, lab safety and, more specifically, incubation of cells. After watching these videos, they should be able to carry out the experiments independently.  

Lesson idea / Learning activity

Specific description and demonstration of the lesson idea/learning activity.

We have actually created a module with clips and quizzes. We have used 4 knowledge clips to replace one lecture and 9 practical clips to replace the introduction into the practical environment / the lab. For a lab tour, an H5P virtual tour in combination with a 360-degree picture was used. To self-assess the knowledge of the students, we included a quiz after each video. These quizzes consisted of 4-12 questions, with feedback on the given answers. Everything was incorporated in the course sites in Brightspace.  

Lessons learned / Tips

Mentions tips lecturer has for colleagues based on their experience.

  • When you start creating these clips and accompanying quizzes, you are forced to redesign your education, which automatically leads to improvements. You have to select the topics, decide what you say and how you say it. You think about what is important and what the learning objective is. How does everything fit together? You have to reduce the amount of information to create clips. You basically critically review a part of your course. And doing this together with a team is even bringing it to a higher level. Working on it as a team would also be a good recommendation for other lecturers who will use clips in their course.  

  • What is important to realize is that it takes a lot of time to design and record the videos. But this is then justified by the improvement of the course and by the amount of time that it will save in the future when those clips can be used again. Also, the required preparation time decreases once you become more experienced.  
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  • An additional benefit of creating these practical clips is that you can guarantee that all students receive the same information. Before, we had different instructors and different group sizes, and now the instruction is the same for everyone.  

  • Practical clips allow you to show the students the actual actions and skills, even better than when they visit the lab. The camera can see and show everything in detail, whereas the normal view would be obstructed by objects or other people, for instance. You can really focus on the important things and guide where the students are looking at.  

  • Students' questions when they start to do the experiments themselves have a different nature than they had previously. They do not ask anymore ‘how to do certain things’ but ask more in-depth questions.  

  • It is good to realise that being in front of the camera is really different from lecturing. For the lecturers in this showcase, it really took some time to get used to this setting. You have to learn (again) how to do this and give yourself some time to learn and develop your own style. It can also be quite exciting to be in front of the camera, and recording is an intense activity. They suggest starting with one clip, reviewing this yourself, learning from it, and then continuing with the remainder.  

  • Compared to lecturing, you lose the interaction with the student; you are only sending information. You thus have to consider other ways to keep this interaction with your students.  

  • When working together with the educational media team, it is really important to communicate with each other and be actively involved in the editing process. For example, by setting up a meeting with the editors while they make the changes.  


Teacher(s): Mieke Poland, Wilma Steegenga
TLC contact: 
Educational Media Team
Author (interviewer): Karly van Gorp


  • Practical clip on Passage of Adherent Cells V202: (video below)
  • Knowledge clip on Cell Culture Models - WW-v110: (video below)


Interested in learning more about Showcases of learning activities?

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