The purpose of a laboratory class is to enhance the lecture portion of the subject matter. It is in this particular portion that students are allowed to perform investigatory work and discover facts for themselves. But first of all what are psychomotor skills? Psychomotor skills are those that deal with manual skills and those that could be learned through manual manipulation (making use of the hands). The competency needed by these skills could only be acquired and learned through constant exposure. The cliche “practice makes perfect,” is still applicable, but that practice should be the proper one as guided by competent teachers.
Why is it important that learning psychomotor skills should be the focus in a clinical laboratory class?
The following are these significant reasons:
1. Students should be able to perform the procedure properly even on their own. The procedure that would be learned can be used by the students later so they should acquire the appropriate manual skill for it.
2. Since the lecture portion deals with the principles and reactions that deal with the procedure, the laboratory should deal with the psychomotor, because students should learn both aspects.
3. Some clinical procedures could only be performed properly if one has the corresponding psychomotor skills.
4. Apparatus used in the laboratory class usually needs appropriate psychomotor skills. If these machines are not operated well, then the empirical data obtained would be questionable.
5. Students could only be exposed to the actual procedure through hands on experience in the laboratory class.
6. Practical exams maybe conducted by external groups before a student obtains promotion. If the laboratory class does not focus on the psychomotor skills, then the students would surely fail in these practical exams, even if they are knowledgeable about the principles of the procedures.
7. Students would be motivated to conduct similar procedures because they have enough self-confidence of their psychomotor skills, if they are trained enough.
8. Psychomotor skills are usually one of the three domains required by higher education for student promotion to the next higher educational level; the other two are cognitive and affective.
The above-mentioned are the major reasons for learning psychomotor skills in the laboratory. For effective learning to take place the objectives should be in consonance with the learning style of the students, the available learning materials and the institutional and mandated requirements of the course; and in the clinical laboratory, psychomotor skills should couple the didactic portion of the subject.