This paper provides an identification of the existing practical skills gap between school-based learning (SBL) and laboratory based learning (LBL) in the Computing Department within the Faculty of Science at Omar Al-Mukhtar University in Libya. A survey has been conducted and the first author has elicited the responses of two groups of stakeholders, namely the academic teachers and students.
The primary goal is to review the main strands of evidence available and argue that there is a gap between laboratory and school-based learning in terms of opportunities for experiment and application of skills. In addition, the nature of experimental work within the laboratory at Omar Al-Mukhtar University needs to be reconsidered. Another goal of our study was to identify the reasons for students’ poor performance in the laboratory and to determine how this poor performance can be eliminated by the modification of teaching methods. Bloom’s taxonomy of learning outcomes has been applied in order to classify questions and problems into categories, and the survey was formulated with reference to third year Computing Department students. Furthermore, to discover students’ opinions with respect to all the issues, an exercise was conducted. The survey provided questions related to what the students had learnt and how well they had learnt. We were also interested in feedback on how to improve the course and the final question provided an opportunity for such feedback.