Web based preparation of students in laboratory based courses may offer unique features and benefits over conventional in-class preparation. Apart from reduced costs and training time, it is an effective tool for education and preparation of large classes, convenient for students due unlimited access without time constraints, and more importantly, it allows mistakes to be made by the users and thus facilitates learning in an active manner. Four interactive web-based modules on Material Sciences related experiments (virtual labs) were developed at the Texas Tech University. The aim was to help undergraduate students learn more about the objectives and procedures of laboratory experiments in order to be better prepared for performing their tasks during the physical experiment. The intention of this project was to assess the benefits of both web based training in performing the actual experiments and in the learning of students. Furthermore, we wanted to assess the perceived effectiveness of the software as a function of the student learning style and GPA performance. Access to modules was given to several sections of Materials Science Laboratory Course. A pre-lab quiz was given to all students to test the students' understanding of objectives, procedure and the anticipated results of the experiment. The learning styles of the students were determined using the on-line Index of Learning Style (ILS). The laboratory report and test scores were compared across those sections that were exposed and not exposed to the virtual laboratories. The scores were also correlated to the GPA of the students and their scores of learning style questionnaire. In all cases, the student groups that were exposed to virtual labs performed better in both laboratory quizzes and reports. The improvement in performance was statistically significant in majority of comparisons. Our research also showed all students regardless of their GPA level benefited from the virtual labs. Based on the ILS scales, our results show that active and sensing learners benefited more from the virtual labs than visual learners.
|Journal||ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings|
|State||Published - 2006|
|Event||113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States|
Duration: Jun 18 2006 → Jun 21 2006