Science simulation: Preparatory or perfunctory?

Teague Jacob (2011). Science simulation: Preparatory or perfunctory? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Teague Jacob
Thesis Title Science simulation: Preparatory or perfunctory?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Professor Phillip Long
Total pages 93
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Simulations are becoming increasing prevalent as preparatory educational tools or replacement for performing laboratory experiments. Despite the popularity of such methods, empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of simulations in informing performance of laboratory experiments is lacking. The current study had three aims: (1) to investigated whether procedural learning informed by practice with a simulation can transfer to performance of the analogous practical experiment, (2) to examine whether procedural learning transfers from practicum to simulation, and whether students subsequently use the simulation differently, and (3) to determine whether training with simulation affects perceptions of self-efficacy and interdependence. A sample of 229 students enrolled in a second year university pharmacology course was given access to a virtual laboratory simulation of an experiment performed in class. Students received access to the simulation before or after completing the same task in laboratory, and questionnaire measures were also distributed to investigate whether training affected individual’s perceptions of self-efficacy and task interdependence, and perceptions of contributions. Results indicate that simulation practice facilitates performance in practical classes, but that experience with the physical laboratory did not transfer to better performance of the simulation. Training with the virtual lab lead to a slight increase in self-efficacy for aspects of the task, but no differences were found in perceptions of task interdependence or contributions of group members. Findings suggest that simulated practical laboratories are a useful tool for informing laboratory procedural learning, without affecting the formation of groups. Keywords: transference, procedural, simulation, small groups, interdependence, self-efficacy
Keyword Science simulation
Small groups

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Created: Mon, 18 Jun 2012, 13:25:11 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology