Use of a virtual tablet machine in pharmaceutical education
2012 (English)In: NGL 2012 Next Generation Learning Conference Falun: Book of Abstracts, 2012Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
One of the pedagogical problems frequently faced by distance students, particularly on web-based vocational programmes, is the lack of opportunity to train practical elements in the course. This presentation describes a project to provide a technological solution to this problem and also to enhance distance students’ understanding of the processes involved in tablet production by means of a virtual tablet machine. The web-based Master of Science in Pharmacy Programme at Umeå University includes the course Drug Formulation. One of the expected learning outcomes of the course is to understand and explain relationships between composition, compaction process and properties of tablets. In order to facilitate this, a tablet simulation (virtual tablet machine) was created. Simulations can be successfully used in education to illustrate rather complex relationships during a limited time frame and they are also ideal in distance education since they do not require access to expensive laboratory facilities and can be carried out by the student at any time and place. A web-based tablet simulation was created enabling the students to choose different compositions, compaction pressures and compaction speeds in order to observe which effect these parameters have on the properties of the tablet produced. The simulation is performed and the results are displayed in the form of graphs. Once the results have been generated the students then interpret and explain the results on the basis of current theory using a Wiki. During the course the students also manufacture tablets in real life; the tablet simulation therefore also serves as preparation for these practical experiments. After the simulation had been carried out it was evaluated by the students in the form of a written questionnaire and a focus group interview. The students found the tablet simulation easy to use, motivational and considered the simulation to have contributed to their understanding of the compaction process. The students also considered the simulation to be a good theoretical preparation for the practical experiments. Some operational problems were reported, for example difficulties in changing the compaction pressure and the presentation of the results may also be improved. In conclusion, we found that the use of the tablet simulation, in combination with practical experiments and assignments, improved the student’s understanding of the compaction process and provided a suitable technological solution to a pedagogical problem in a web-based Pharmaceutical Science Programme. The project would like to thank “Flexible education at Umeå University” for financial support.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Engineering and Technology Pharmacology and Toxicology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67471OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-67471DiVA: diva2:612093
Next Generation Learning Conference, NGL 2012, February 21–23, 2012, Falun, Sweden