This paper describes a study aimed at assessing the ability of report templates to help students learn key concepts during undergraduate laboratory classes. The report templates were designed so that a set of assessment questions led the students through the logical steps required to perform the laboratory exercise and to calculate the required quantitative results. Additional questions probed the students’ understanding of the key concepts covered.
The study assessed the efficacy of the report templates in achieving these goals over a 3 year period via the use of a questionnaire, laboratory marks and marks awarded for examination questions that tested one of the key learning outcomes. The report templates were found to save time for students and academics alike without any negative (or positive) effect on learning outcomes.