About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 7642-7647
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.1813

Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain

VIRTUAL LABORATORY WORK WITH MODIFIED GUIDING STRUCTURES

G. Karlsson

Halmstad University (SWEDEN)
Laboratory work in science education is considered essential for students’ conceptual understanding of natural phenomena. Virtual laboratory work, compared to hands-on experiments, has the advantage of being both more cost- and time-effective, but it also invokes questions about its explorative capacities. Like all educational tools, digital learning materials involve certain problems, and educational gains from technical innovations cannot be taken for granted. To help students discover the intended scientific concept in simulated learning environments, guiding structures designed to support the learning process are recommended.

An online virtual laboratory with the intention to give students the opportunity to discover oxygen and carbon dioxide solubility in water at various environmental conditions was created. In a design experiment, three successive versions of the virtual laboratory was developed; each with an increased degree of guiding structures. The aim of this research was to study how students’ scientific reasoning was contingent on the modified guiding structures within the virtual laboratory experiment. The students had to work in pairs and four student pairs were randomly selected at each test cycle to be video-recorded while conducting their collaborative work in the virtual laboratory. Thus, video recordings of four student dyads represented each version.

Analysis of the 12 dyads’ reasoning about gas solubility in water revealed that the problem was not primarily for the students to realise how the volume of gas changed, but rather to understand the concept of solubility of gases in water. It was also observed how the guiding structures within each version influenced the students’ reasoning about the studied phenomenon in certain trajectories. The structure of guidance within the different versions of the virtual laboratory affected students’ scientific reasoning about the studied phenomenon in certain trajectories. So for example, the more guided structures the virtual lab was furnished with, the less the students reasoned about the investigated phenomenon.

These results suggest that furnishing a virtual laboratory with an increased amount of guiding structures and aid enables students to produce the right answer on a test, but also risks quenching students’ constructive discussions and their discovery process. Thus, it is incumbent on designers of digital learning resources to decide what kind of scaffolding should be implemented in relation to the learners pre-knowledge, and how much one intends them to discover by themselves. The next development for this area of research is to focus on how results from this design-based study can contribute to improvements in the design of virtual laboratories, which has the potential to complement traditional laboratory work.
@InProceedings{KARLSSON2018VIR,
author = {Karlsson, G.},
title = {VIRTUAL LABORATORY WORK WITH MODIFIED GUIDING STRUCTURES},
series = {12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-9480-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2018.1813},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2018.1813},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {7642-7647}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Karlsson
TI - VIRTUAL LABORATORY WORK WITH MODIFIED GUIDING STRUCTURES
SN - 978-84-697-9480-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2018.1813
PY - 2018
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2018
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2018 Proceedings
SP - 7642
EP - 7647
ER -
G. Karlsson (2018) VIRTUAL LABORATORY WORK WITH MODIFIED GUIDING STRUCTURES, INTED2018 Proceedings, pp. 7642-7647.
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