I. Ghergulescu1, T. Lynch1, M. Bratu2, A. Moldovan3, C.H. Muntean3, G.M. Muntean4

1Adaptemy (IRELAND)
2University of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
3National College of Ireland (IRELAND)
4Dublin City University (IRELAND)
The Atomic Structure Virtual Lab places the student in the centre of the learning experience through implementation of personalisation, inquiry-based learning, and self-directed learning. These innovative pedagogies are widely recognised as being beneficial as students learn to carry out their own experiments, analyse and question, and take responsibility for their own learning (Wang, Guo, & Jou, 2015). Most importantly, personalisation makes the learning experience individual, as one size does not fit all in education (Docebo, 2017). These pedagogies, combined with interactive activities and the use of multimedia, make the Atomic Structure Virtual Lab an engaging, encouraging, and fun learning environment. In the lab students are active participants, not passive listeners: they are in charge of their own learning. Personalisation in this virtual lab is implemented at different levels throughout the entire learning journey.

The levels of personalisation include:
• Learning Loop-based personalisation
• Feedback-based personalisation
• Innovative pedagogies-based personalisation (inquiry-based learning and self-directed learning)
• Gamification-based personalisation
• Special Needs-based personalisation (for hearing impaired students).

An evaluation case study was conducted with special education needs students from two secondary school classes. The evaluation methodology involved four stages before and four stages after interacting with the Atomic Structure Virtual Lab. The four stages before interaction are:
• Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) Questionnaire
• Demographic Questionnaire
• Knowledge Pre-Test
• Affective, Motivation state and attitude regarding STEM

The four stages after interaction are:
• Affective, motivation state and attitude regarding STEM
• Usability Questionnaire
• Knowledge Post-Test
• TTCT Questionnaire

The TTCT Questionnaire is one of the most popular tests measuring creativity. It is addressed to children (over 5 years), adolescents and adults. The figurative form of the TTCT was used, which involves students constructing images (i.e., build an image that includes another image already printed on the page and give it a title), completing images (i.e., draw some objects from an image already printed on page), construct images from lines (i.e., build an image that includes lines already printed on the page and give it a title).

The Demographic questionnaire is a survey to be completed by all learners, prior to starting the virtual lab collecting information such as age, gender, attitude towards STEM learning, and use of technology.

The Knowledge Pre-Test and Knowledge Post-Test are used in order to evaluate learners knowledge of learning concepts regarding Atomic Structure before and after interacting with the Virtual Lab.

The Affective, motivation state and attitude regarding STEM questionnaire captures information regarding student’s intrinsic motivation, confidence, emotions (e.g., enjoyment, anxiety, boredom, happines, sadness). The Usability Questionnaire assesses learners’ feeling about the usability related to the learning experience with the Atomic Structure Virtual Lab.

The full paper will include a detailed results analysis and discussion of the research findings.