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STUDENTS’ AND LECTURERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR PHYSICS LEARNING LABORATORY ENVIRONMENT

L. Reddy

University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
The purpose of this paper is to report on the students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of the physical aspects of the Physics Laboratory Learning Environment. For this research use is made of an instrument developed by Che Ahmad et al. (2014), in its modified form to include items specifically related to physics. The University of Johannesburg has developed 7 technologically enhanced laboratories for the conductance of practicals in 7 domains of physics from Mechanics to Electricity for undergraduate modules in physics. The physical aspects of 4 of these laboratories were evaluated by both the students and lecturers whilst working in these laboratories.

The items of the survey were demarcated into 6 categories, namely:
(1) Furniture and Equipment;
(2) Learning Space;
(3) Lighting;
(4) Technology;
(5) Indoor air quality and
(6) Safety.

The instrument that evaluated these items had a 5-point Likert scale of evaluation from +1 (Strongly Disagree) to +5 (Strongly Agree).

Results are expressed in the form of mean values. The findings of this research reveals high levels of agreement for the laboratories that offers Thermodynamics, Electricity, Kinematics and the Radiation Science laboratory on the aspect of Furniture and Equipment. Of the other 5 categories of the survey, the students rated them as moderate, with the exception of the Kinematics laboratory for which they rated the Lighting provided by this laboratory with a high level of agreement. On the other hand, the rating provide by the lecturers were positive on all aspects of the laboratory survey, reflecting their allegiance and comfort levels whilst working in each of these laboratories. However, the perceptions of the students on the aspect of Technology is a cause concern despite the fact that these laboratories are technologically enhanced.