Biotechnology Teaching
Electronic Journal of Biotechnology ISSN: 0717-3458 Vol. 14 No. 2, Issue of March 15, 2011
© 2011 by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso -- Chile Received July 15, 2010 / Accepted January 11, 2011
DOI: 10.2225/vol14-issue2-fulltext-2  

Accommodating the difference in students’ prior knowledge of cell growth kinetics

Janneke van Seters*1 · Miriam Ossevoort2 · Martin Goedhart2 · Johannes Tramper1

1Department of Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
2Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

*Corresponding author:

Financial support: This project was financially supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and the B-Basic partner organizations through B-Basic, a public-private NWO-ACTS programme (ACTS = Advanced Chemical Technologies for Sustainability).

Keywords: adaptive digital learning material, bioreactor design, biotechnology, education, intelligent tutoring system, intelligent Web-based educational system.

Abstract   Full Text

This paper describes the development and benefits of an adaptive digital module on cell growth to tackle the problem of educating a heterogeneous group of students at the beginning of an undergraduate course on process engineering. Aim of the digital module is to provide students with the minimal level of knowledge on cell growth kinetics they need to comprehend the content knowledge of the subsequent lectures and pass the exam. The module was organised to offer the subject matter in a differentiated manner, so that students could follow different learning paths. Two student groups were investigated, one consisting of students who had received their prior education abroad and one of students that had not. Exam scores, questionnaires, and logged user data of the two student groups were analysed to discover whether the digital module had the intended effect. The results indicate that students did indeed follow different learning paths. Also, the differences in exam scores between the two student groups that was present before the introduction of the digital module was found to have decreased afterwards. In general, students appreciated the use of the material regardless of their prior education. We therefore conclude that the use of adaptive digital learning material is a possible way to solve the problem of differences in prior education of students entering a course.

Supported by UNESCO / MIRCEN network