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WMS & SLS Experimental Physiology Allied Learning Scheme (EPALS)

Understanding physiology is vital for both Medical (WMS) and Biomedical (SLS) students at Warwick, but its relevance and applicability is often lost in the detail and complexity of the subject. EPALS is designed to maximise the impact of physiology teaching in both departments by using a combination of clinical case-based learning, E-learning and hands-on experimental lab sessions. By pairing students across departments we hope to encourage deeper learning, with Life Science students gaining insight into the application and relevance of the basic science in the clinical world and medical students gaining in-depth basic science training as part of their medical teaching.

Using LabTutor (ADInstruments), a physiology teaching package which allows lab-based experiments to be linked to E-learning sessions, we will develop a series of clinical case-based physiology learning experiences suitable for both departments. Students will be given a clinical scenario and provided with relevant physiology teaching (didactic and e-learning based) to understand normal physiology and pathological aspects related to the case. Clinical investigations will then be performed and linked to the experimental sessions, during which the students will be encouraged to obtain their own baseline 'normal' data, relate these to the principles of physiology they have been taught and compare them to the case results obtained from the patient. Students will also think about the therapeutic aspects, relating pharmacological interventions (currently recommended by UK management protocols and guidelines) to the physiology of the disorder and encouraged to think about future therapeutic pathways that could be investigated. These approaches also enable a mix of collaborative and individual study of the topics, enhancing team-working, independent research and learning techniques.

Dr Dawn Collins is a principal teaching fellow in the Medical School.

Dr Mark Wall is an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences whose research interests are in Neuroscience.