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Creating spaces for deeper learning through blended approaches to lab-based physiology learning via kuraCloud

Wednesday 3 July: 5:30pm – 7:00pm, poster session



Lynne Petersen
University of Auckland, New Zealand 

Dr Anuj Bhargava
University of Auckland, New Zealand



Traditional boundaries of learning ‘spaces and places’ have drastically shifted with varied blended tools and methods now available to educators. We present results from an evaluation project examining the impact on student learning of kuraCloud, an online blended learning platform. We have implemented kuraCloud in our clinical physiology laboratory-based teaching within the MBChB (medical) and BPharm (pharmacy) programmes at the University of Auckland over the past 3 years. We will report on results of questionnaire data from students currently enrolled in these programmes. Our study has sought to understand how ‘deeper learning’ can be supported in physical laboratories where numerous ‘distractors’ can derail deeper learning (e.g. technical equipment issues and jargon-filled, pre-work not always completed prior to labs). Data from our research suggest that the use of more blended approaches to such teaching has enabled students to feel more connected to the deeper learning purpose than in previous traditional lab-based sessions.


Research/evaluation method

Our research study (2017-2019) is evaluating the effectiveness, from the student perspective, of learning concepts taught in laboratory sessions using blended learning approaches. Students at Stage 2 and 3 of the MBChB and BPharm programmes are invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire and attend focus groups to uncover their experiences using blended modules of learning in kuraCloud in their pre- lab, during-lab, and post-lab coursework. We will synthesise questionnaire data from the MBChB cohort (n = 41) who completed 7 clinical physiology labs during June – August, 2018. the MBChB cohort (n = 41) who completed 7 clinical physiology labs during June – August, 2018.



Qualitative responses from the questionnaire indicate themes of significance including that kuraCloud allows clear physiology connections, revision of content in students’ own place/space and ability to receive instant feedback within labs via the online quiz elements. We will discuss strengths and potential gaps in this blended learning approach from the student perspective.

Our poster will discuss the rich qualitative feedback given by the participating students and highlight student learning in places and spaces for future graduates through our consideration of the place of blended learning approaches across current, and future tertiary programmes.

Blended learning, which combines face-to-face classes with e-learning modules (Voos,  2003), offers the possibility, when thoughtfully developed and employed, to enjoy the advantages of “both” teaching methods (Graham, 2004; Harding, Kaczynski, & Wood,  2005).

Blended learning can offer greater flexibility to teachers and students. However implementing blended learning approaches does not guarantee ‘deeper’ or necessarily ‘better’ learning. To prepare future graduates who are critical, and deep, thinkers we need to ensure that the blended methods we implement are carefully designed to support learners to make meaning and connections for themselves.

Our initial data from our medical students suggests that our MBChB students find the blended methods we have implemented in physiology labs via kuraCloud support such lofty aims. Our poster will highlight important areas for consideration for other educators embarking on blended approaches to teaching content-rich and complex curricula.



Voos, R. (2003). Blended learning what is it and where might it take us? Sloan-C View, 2 (1), 2–5.
 Graham, C. R. (2004). Blended learning systems: definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J. Bonk, & C. R. Graham (Eds.), The handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 3–21). Zurich: Pfeiffer Publishing.
A. Harding, D. Kaczynski, L. Wood Evaluation of blended learning: analysis of qualitative data Proceedings of uniserve science blended learning symposium (2005), pp. 56-6


Presentation topic

Poster session

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