University of Twente Student Theses


How effective and efficient is a virtual lab compared to a remote lab in inquiry learning environment?

Al Krad, K. (2021) How effective and efficient is a virtual lab compared to a remote lab in inquiry learning environment?

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Abstract:Nowadays, in STEM education, virtual and remote labs (VRLs) are used as alternatives to traditional hands-on labs to conduct experiments as a part of inquiry learning activities. At the same time, research reveal that virtual labs (i.e., simulations) have many specific advantages over remote labs (i.e., real labs that are remotely operated). In spite of the recent developments in technology, only a few studies have compared virtual labs’ (VLs’) and remote labs’ (RLs’) effectiveness and efficiency. VLs are more popular than RLs, however, there is no consensus reached regarding the comparative effectiveness of VRLs, whereas research on time-efficiency of VRLs is literally non-existent. This study investigated the effectiveness (i.e., conceptual knowledge gain) and the efficiency (i.e., time-efficiency) of VRLs in inquiry learning environment. University programme students (n=40) were assigned randomly to two experimental groups, of which one used a virtual lab and the other one used a remote lab. Participants followed an online lesson in physics. Students in both groups gained knowledge from pretest to posttest, hence, both labs were effective. However, no significant difference was found either in effectiveness or in efficiency between the VL and RL conditions. In addition, time spent (i.e., learning time) on a lab did not have any impact on the conceptual knowledge gain. Therefore, there is no preference of which lab to use in educational settings. Nevertheless, the results of this study point to a need to further investigate the effectiveness and the efficiency of VRLs from the design perspective.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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