The pedagogical methods by which information is delivered to students during physiology-based laboratory courses usually include varying amounts of hands-on demonstrations and tactile exercises. Tactile learning techniques complement hands-on activities and visual learning aids to improve retention through "doing". The objective of this study was to determine whether the purposeful addition of more tactile activities to physiology laboratory sessions could improve student learning and knowledge retention. In this study four laboratory sections were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: control or tactile. These treatments were applied for the first third of the semester. Information was delivered to the control sections in a traditional format, with heavy reliance upon two-dimensional figures, charts and diagrams with basal amounts of tactile learning opportunities. The laboratory sections assigned to the tactile treatment received the same information as controls but were assigned distinct tactile activities focused on critical concepts of the course. During the last third of the semester, when all laboratory sections were treated the same, exam scores didn’t differ. This indicates that inherent academic ability/motivation was equally distributed between laboratory sections. During the treatment period the inclusion of additional tactile activities resulted in higher exam scores (P=0.027). These results indicate that further increasing hands-on learning in laboratory experiences helps students understand and retain information.