A thread to capture a selection of the case studies and research papers published on our Virtual Labs and their effectiveness (and some about virtual labs in general as well! )
October 2018 Nature article on Virtual Labs, including quotes from Dr Woodfield and some screenshots from our virtual lab.
The Virtual ChemLab Project: A Realistic and Sophisticated Simulation of Inorganic Qualitative Analysis
JCE Inorganic.pdf (168.8 KB)
The Virtual ChemLab Project: A Realistic
and Sophisticated Simulation of Organic Synthesis and Organic Qualitative Analysis
JCE Organic.pdf (162.3 KB)
The learning effects of computer simulations in science education
This article reviews the (quasi)experimental research of the past decade on the learning effects of computer simulations in science education. The focus is on two questions: how use of computer simulations can enhance traditional education, and how computer simulations are best used in order to improve learning processes and outcomes. We report on studies that investigated computer simulations as a replacement of or enhancement to traditional instruction. In particular, we consider the effects of variations in how information is visualized, how instructional support is provided, and how computer simulations are embedded within the lesson scenario. The reviewed literature provides robust evidence that computer simulations can enhance traditional instruction, especially as far as laboratory activities are concerned. However, in most of this research the use of computer simulations has been approached without consideration of the possible impact of teacher support, the lesson scenario, and the computer simulation’s place within the curriculum.
2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ComputEduc2012Rutten.pdf (1.0 MB)
Deriving Operational Principles for the Design of Engaging Learning Experiences
The issue of learner engagement is an important question for education and for instructional design. It is acknowledged that computer games in general are engaging. Thus, one possible solution to learner engagement is to integrate computer games into education; however, the literature indicates that pedagogical, logistical and political barriers remain. Another possible solution is to derive principles for the design of engaging experiences from a critical examination of computer game design. One possible application of the derived design principles is that instruction may be designed to be inherently more engaging. The purpose of this dissertation was to look for operational principles underlying the design of computer games in order to better understand the design of engaging experiences. Core design components and associated operational principles for the design of engaging experiences were identified. Selected computer games were analyzed to demonstrate that these components and principles were present in the design of successful computer games. Selected instructional units were analyzed to show evidence that these operational principles could be applied to the design of instruction. An instructional design theory—called Challenge-driven Instructional Design—and design considerations for the theory were proposed. Finally, suggestions were made for continued development and research of the instructional design theory.