When learning about the real world is better done virtually: A study of substituting computer simulations for laboratory equipment

N. D. Finkelstein, W. K. Adams, C. J. Keller, P. B. Kohl, K. K. Perkins, N. S. Podolefsky, S. Reid, R. LeMaster
2005 Physical Review Special Topics. Physics Education Research  
This paper examines the e¤ects of substituting a computer simulation for real laboratory equipment in the second semester of a large-scale introductory physics course. The direct current (DC) circuit laboratory was modi...ed to compare the e¤ects of using computer simulations with the e¤ects of using real light bulbs, meters, and wires. Two groups of students, those who used real equipment and those who used a computer simulation that explicitly modeled electron ‡ow, were compared in terms of
more » ... eir mastery of physics concepts and skills with real equipment. Students who used the simulated equipment outperformed their counterparts both on a conceptual survey of the domain and in the coordinated tasks of assembling a real circuit and describing how it worked.
doi:10.1103/physrevstper.1.010103 fatcat:kxhqhpgt4jgzjcpimedavuhgo4