VIRTUALIZATION OF EXPERIMENTAL SETUPS AS A COMPLEMENT TO THE LABORATORY PRACTICES. APPLICATION TO THE METHODS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ELASTICITY AND STRENGTH OF MATERIALS
Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In the current context of higher education, it is undoubtable the benefit for university didactics of the inclusion of practical teaching activities to complement the theoretical ones.
The practical side of the teaching and learning process is especially critical in the bachelor degrees of scientific and technological approach. It takes the form of activities such as solving exercises, analysis of cases or, in those subjects with a certain experimental component, laboratory trainings. In the last ones, the student analyzes a phenomenon recreated in an experimental setup. Such a methodology allows students to assimilate more easily the theoretical concepts that underlie the phenomenon previously explained in the theoretical lectures.
Nevertheless, the design of training activities based on experimental setups presents several drawbacks. These include those of non-formal nature, which are the most difficult to overcome (need for specialized laboratory staff, high investments in laboratory equipment, etc.). Moreover, once the test setups are designed and built up, they are found to be excessively rigid since they cannot be modified to represent different scenarios. In other to avoid most of these conditions, implementation and use of ad hoc virtual laboratories has been historically an advantageous alternative to laboratory trainings. Nevertheless, in spite of the undeniable advantages of their use, the student does not interact directly with the experimental setup, but does so through a computer interface, limiting in part the achievement of the learning objectives.
In this work, the synergy of both practical approaches in the context of the teaching and learning of subjects related to “Elasticity” and “Strength of Materials” is raised. The authors, leaving out the dilemma of using experimental setups against virtual laboratories, state that the combined use of both methods also implies a juxtaposition of their separate benefits.
Keywords: Experimental setting, Virtual laboratory, Elasticity, Strength of Materials, Matlab.