University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 3621-3630
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1875
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Most science and engineering educators believe that the laboratory experience is a necessary complement rather than passive activities like reading textbooks and listening to lectures; this series of activities constitute a large part of the available time. Nowadays the learning methods at universities are under a constant review process. Applications focused in simulation-based learning allow to speed-up the learning process; this facilitates the design and implementation of active resources in the classroom. Simulation-based Learning (SbL) is a very effective idea for students to acquire knowledge, if they are well motivated. Although this learning model it is not new; it integrates the advantages of e-learning method (multimedia resources, interactive simulations) with some aspects of traditional method (face-to-face interaction). In this case, the low cost of the multimedia elements not only allow enhance learning activities, but also help to the student to learn in an entertaining way. Laboratories have a crucial role in the education of future engineers, yet there is disagreement among educators about which types of labs technology must be used, e.g. real, on-line or virtual technology. Thus simulation-based learning allows the students to develop the ability to solve problems and apply knowledge, which is difficult to obtain otherwise. Moreover, it has been shown that these types of activities are important in the educational context on physics and engineering topics. In addition in this past decade, several studies have shown that educational computer games can enhance learning performance. The incorporation of simulation software allows students checking the operation of devices easily. So it is possible to contrast the behaviour of systems without having to make their assembly. These simulation tools have become in important educational resources, resulting in the emergence of the simulation-based learning concept. Calculation, estimation and model development are activities that students can do outside the classroom, so that is optimized class time.

In this paper is presented the educational innovation experience based in active-collaborative activities realized during the academic year 2014/15. This educational context has provided us the opportunity to introduce this type of methodologies and teaching tools to engineering students; being possible to verify qualitatively and quantitatively if they contribute a substantial change in the teaching-learning process. It is also necessary to indicate the importance of the ICT’s (Information and Communication Technologies) in the university classroom and their possibilities to develop new manners of learning, e.g. “to learn to learn”. The current trend to complemented face-to-face classes with web-based resources allows to improve the traditional form of learning. Information obtained through questionnaires, has revealed the involvement grade and attitude rank of students towards the learning process. Student satisfaction with simulation-based learning was checked through questions related to aspects of the scheduled activities. Students prefer procedures teaching-learning more dynamic, flexible, participatory and with continuous evaluation, although his general impression is that need more dedication. The results show that the effectiveness and level of global satisfaction of the students during the development of this educational experience has been high.
Simulation-based Learning, Learning by-doing, Experimental Learning, Game-based Learning, On-line/Virtual Laboratories, Engineering Education, Motivation.