By Oscar Lawrence,2014-07-06 12:52
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Laboratory Operations


Teacher Guide

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

    Introduction to the Laboratory Operations Toolbox Underpinning Concept

    The Laboratory Operations Toolbox is driven by the concept of the learner being a laboratory assistant working within a virtual laboratory workplace. The Toolbox requires the learner to actively engage with the subject matter through solving problems and completing tasks. Communication between learners and with the teacher is encouraged by the use of chat rooms and discussion forums, as well as the use of e-mail to send completed activities to the teacher. The toolbox has two main sections, the virtual workplace and the units of competency

    The Virtual Workplace

    The virtual workplace is called SimuLab and is a small laboratory so the learner is required to carry out biological, chemical and physical testing on a range of samples. The workplace is presented as a reception area with doors which provide access to various people for information, the Resources and Training Room for content and the laboratories to conduct tests, as well as access to the outside world to do field work. The virtual workplace is a repository for resources such SOPs, web sites, Manuals and a library of content. The learner can ask staff questions, undertake activities and personal study.

    Units within the Toolbox

    Separate from the Virtual Workplace are eleven units that directly align to competencies in the Laboratory Operations Training Package. Each competency is represented as a unit. The unit is presented on a page with links to browser windows. The links take the learner to various parts of the virtual workplace to obtain information or conduct tests. Once the required information has been obtained the learner closes the window to return to the unit. The unit has clear steps for the learner to follow. Activities are available from the unit itself or are located with content information.

Teacher Guide Introduction 2

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

    Selection of the Competencies This Toolbox of resources will support the training requirements of laboratory

    technicians at qualification levels from Certificate III to Diploma in the Laboratory

    Operations Training Package (PML99). The competencies have been selected to ensure maximum usage across the three

    most popular qualification levels (Certificate III, Certificate IV, and Diploma). The

    Toolbox 4 competencies will support the completion of qualifications across a wide

    range of priority industry sectors. National Code Nominal Core Elective Subsumes


    PMLCOM 300A 40 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLDATA 300A 70 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLOHS 300A 40 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLMAIN 300A 30 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLTEAM300A 20 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLQUAL300A 30 Cert III PMLORG300A 20 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLTEST 300A 60 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLTEST 301A 50 of 80 Cert III, IV, Diploma (Elements 1,2,5,6)

    PMLTEST 302A 50 Cert III, IV PMLTEST303A 50 Cert III PMLTEST305A 40 Cert III, IV, Diploma PMLSAMP 400A 40 Cert IV, Diploma Cert III, IV, Diploma SAMP300

    Cert III PMLQUAL 401A 80 Cert IV, Diploma Cert III QUAL300

    Cert III PMLTEST 400A 120 Cert IV, Diploma Cert III PMLTEST401A 120 Cert IV Diploma PMLTEST 402A 100 Cert IV, Diploma Cert III TEST303,

    Cert III PMLTEST501A 140 Cert IV, Diploma

Teacher Guide Introduction 3

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

Teaching Using the Toolbox

    Laboratory Operations is a cross-industry Training Package that has applications in a large number of industries. Examples have been drawn from process manufacturing and construction industries, biomedical and environmental services and the food and beverage processing industries. Examples could not be provided for every industry within every unit so teachers will need to use the existing scenario and provide additional material for the context of the training.

    The toolbox has been developed as a resource to assist teachers with their training and is not a complete course in its own right. Students will not be able to use the toolbox as the only source of information. Additional underpinning information may need to be provided as well as further clarification on the material that is provided. The developers have tried to avoid writing a textbook and have instead focused on replicating a workplace environment to develop the learners’ understanding of the role of a Laboratory Technician.

    It is recommended that tutors read the Student Guide, available both online and in print form with this package. It has much of the important basic information about the navigation and structure of the Toolbox, particularly the Virtual World. The normal procedure for participants should be as follows:

    ; Students should contact their on-line tutor when they are ready to commence a


    ; The tutor and students then check that their regular communication technology is

    functional, especially the Discussion Forums (see details under the section on

    Online Discussion Forums). Any problems arising should be immediately

    reported and addressed by IT staff.

    ; When the first students make contact, the tutor may need to initiate forum

    discussion topics in some units. It is recommended that tutors display a presence

    on the forums of every unit in any case, by initiating a topic or a welcome

    message. This gives students a sense of support in a new learning environment

    when they visit the forums for the first time.

    ; Students then work through each task page, accessing each activity in sequence.

    They may need to discuss certain aspects of the tasks with their tutor, or initiate

    their own discussion on the forum if the tutor considers it appropriate. ; Students should make sure that each submission has their name, unit name, task

    reference, step reference and activity name clearly indicated. ; Your organisation may have a Student Management System or something similar

    that can be attached to the Assessment Tasks at the end of each unit or section.

    If not, students may print out or type out responses and e-mail, mail or fax them

    to their tutor.

    ; It is recommended that tutors provide an assignment receipt and feedback to all

    Assessment Tasks and assessable activities submitted. Keeping well-organised

    records will save many misunderstandings later and presents a better sense of

    support and professionalism for students. Online delivery does not replace good

    teaching practice.

    ; The content provided will not be sufficient to cover the competencies. Additional

    content and practical skill training will be required. The assessment sections of

Teacher Guide Introduction 4

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

    each unit provide a starting point only and are not comprehensive or exhaustive.

    A practical assessment checklist is provided for each unit as a guide to

    conducting the practical assessment.

    ; If the student’s work is considered satisfactory, the tutor then contacts the student

    and their Field Supervisor that the student is ready to undertake tasks as per the

    Practical Assessment Checklist. This should be printed out and sent to their Field

    Supervisor, who will either set tasks or mark them off if they are already

    considered competent.

    ; When the checklist is complete, it should be sent off to the tutor who will file it

    according to your normal record management practice. The student is then

    informed that they have successfully completed all requirements for that unit /


    The Teacher's Role

    The teacher will be the first point of contact to set up and confirm the training plan for units and activities to be completed. The teacher will be able to conduct an RCC information gathering exercise online using e-mail and Toolbox assessment tools. The teacher will also use the e-mail to set out the schedule for practical work to be undertaken in the classroom or on-the-job.

    Several scenarios involve customer orders and complaints/enquiries. The teacher will play the role of the human face (via e-mail) in the interactions with the student who must clarify details, seek out and assemble information, perform the tasks to specification and report on the findings.

    The teacher will provide e-mail feedback on extended response/answers to activities that are practice learning exercises, reports and assessments.

    The Target Audience

    The Toolbox is designed to be widely applicable across the target audience who are located in TAFE, the VET in Schools - Laboratory Skills program and other classroom environments. It is also suitable for use in a workplace training environment such as process manufacturing quality control, environmental monitoring, construction materials, mining, pathology, biological and food laboratories. Tutors can vary the content of the Toolbox to meet the contextual needs of their students.


    Communication between learners and with the tutor will be encouraged by the use of chat rooms and discussion forums, as well as the use of e-mail to send completed activities to the tutor.

    The a feature of the Toolbox is the two simulated laboratories which provide an authentic setting for the workplace based activities. In these virtual workplaces, learners will meet, seek out and interact with co-workers, customers, supervisors and suppliers to solve a range of problems. Learners will be required to communicate with each other to cooperatively solve problems and with the tutor to role play activities, check work, receive feedback and clarify concepts.

    The tutor can monitor the progress of each learner as responses to exercises are sent for checking. Additional task sheets can be sent to the student to provide extra practice when required.

Teacher Guide Introduction 5

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

Communication with Students

    ; The strength of this material is not only in its flexibility, but also its interactive

    nature with the material itself, and with other participants. Tutors are encouraged

    to foster peer interaction so students derive the maximum benefit that these

    materials can provide.

    ; There are some activities that will require students to use cognitive and reflective

    thinking, rather than calculus or regurgitation of material from the task pages of

    each unit. In such cases, some students may flounder a little, unsure of the

    requirements of that style of activity. Communication processes with student are

    important at this point in order to maintain the effectiveness of this material. To

    assist with this process, there is an online discussion forum available with each

    unit’s task page. Please see the section on ‘Online Discussion Forums’ for more

    details. There are a number of Tutor Notes in this guide where it is suggested

    that such an activity could be appropriate.

    ; Other means of communication with students could include e-mail, paper-based

    mail or phone. Much depends on the students learning style and resources, the

    tutor’s preferred teaching style and the available resources of the tutor’s training

    organisation as to what is appropriate.

    Online Discussion Forums

    ; These are designed to encourage more interactivity between participants and

    with their tutors. There are a number of activities, especially in COM300

    Communicating with Other People where this facility is referred to, including

    assessable tasks.

    ; The files are available on the CD ROM. It is recommended that you consult your

    network system administrator or IT manager, and that your IT staff should install

    the forum files. You may wish to include your own e-mail facility etc, depending

    on your IT resources.

    ; For those unfamiliar with this facility, you will find it displayed as a link at the top

    of each task page. Many units have discussion topics included already, but

    mostly tutors are encouraged to initiate a discussion topic themselves. ; A little initial training of some tutors and students in the use of the forums may be

    necessary in some cases, but most of it is self-explanatory.


    When the tutor is satisfied that the student is ready, they will arrange a suitable time for assessment to take place. Assessment will be by a combination of multiple-choice questions as well as some extended response questions where the answers will be sent to the tutor. The assessment screens can be undertaken entirely online or the tutor may prefer to print them off for use in the classroom under more controlled conditions. The learner and the tutor will be prompted to discuss and arrange suitable practical work participation and assessment. The practical demonstration of skills is an essential component of gaining competency.

Teacher Guide Introduction 6

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

In the Teacher Guide

    This guide includes Tutor Notes and mainly answers to questions linked directly to the ‘Send to Tutor’ assignment activities, with answers to multiple-choice questions in

    the assessment sections of each unit.

    ‘Send to Tutor’ activities will typically be e-mails, typed print-outs or written

    submissions mailed or faxed. These activities are not normally regarded as assessment work unless your organisation wishes to use it as such. They are designed to involve the tutor in the student’s learning, and provide feedback as to the student’s apparent grasp of the principles, procedures and practices of typical laboratory operations.

    Answers or Tutor Notes are provided together with the context of the activity, and also the Task and Step reference. Nevertheless, it is recommended that tutors refer to each activity on the task page itself to understand the broader context of each activity. Not all activities have their full context included in the tutor guide, where the background is too complex, and reference to the task page may be necessary. Each tutor guide of the eleven units of competency is presented as a separate file. This way the tutor can download or print off only the units the learners are undertaking. You will find the following units listed by their National Code in the Teacher Guide folder:

    Document Name Contains

    This Teacher Guide Teacher Guide Introduction.doc

    Student Guide.doc A Word copy of the on-line Student Guide

    Teacher Guide COM300.doc PMLCOM300A Communicate with other people

    Teacher Guide DATA300.doc PMLDATA300A Process and record data

    Teacher Guide ORG300.doc PMLORG 300A Follow established work plan

    Teacher Guide QUAL300.doc PMLQUAL 300A Contribute to achieving quality objectives

    Teacher Guide TEAM300.doc PMLTEAM 300A Work efficiently as part of a team

    Teacher Guide OHS300.doc PMLOHS300A Work safely in accordance with defined

    policies and procedures

    Teacher Guide MAIN300.doc PMLMAIN300A Maintain the laboratory fit for purpose

    Teacher Guide TEST300.doc PMLTEST300 Perform basic tests

    Teacher Guide TEST301.docPMLTEST301A Perform biological laboratory procedures

     (Elements 1,2,5,6)

    Teacher Guide TEST302.doc PMLTEST302A Calibrate test equipment and assist with

    its maintenance

    Teacher Guide TEST303.doc PMLTEST303A Prepare working solutions

Teacher Guide Introduction 7

    Laboratory Operations Toolbox Teacher’s Guide

Teacher Guide TEST305.doc PMLTEST 305A Perform aseptic techniques

    Teacher Guide SAMP400.doc PMLSAMP400A Obtain representative samples in

    accordance with sampling plan

    Teacher Guide QUAL401.doc PMLQUAL401A Apply quality system and continuous

    improvement processes

    Teacher Guide TEST400.doc PMLTEST400A Perform instrumental tests/procedures

    Teacher Guide TEST401.doc PMLTEST401A Perform non-instrumental


    Teacher Guide TEST402.doc PMLTEST402A Prepare, standardise and use solutions

    Teacher Guide TEST501.doc PMLTEST 501 A Perform microbiological tests

Teacher Guide Introduction 8

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