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Proceedings ArticleDOI

Evaluation of the effectiveness of Virtual laboratory's for Electronics in the Open distance learning Context

TL;DR: The module practical electronics offered at the University of south Africa in the Open distance learning context is discussed and the effectiveness of utilizing the virtual laboratory and the virtual learning environment (VLE) in teaching the practical electronics module was analyzed.
Abstract: In this paper the module practical electronics offered at the University of south Africa in the Open distance learning context is discussed. The module was taught, and experiments were performed using a virtual laboratory called NI Multisim circuit simulation software. The virtual laboratory together with other student teaching aids such as power point presentations and tutorial letters were hosted on a virtual learning environment (VLE) called Sakai. The effectiveness of utilizing the virtual laboratory and the virtual learning environment (VLE) in teaching the practical electronics module was analyzed. The effectiveness of using these tools to teach the module was evaluated at the end of the year by referring to the student pass rate in the module. The pass rate of the students in the module whilst using the virtual laboratory to conduct experiments was compared to pass rates in the module from previous years when experiments were conducted by using physical laboratories. The student pass rate in the module when using the virtual laboratory decreased slightly as compared to previous years when physical experiments were done. The slight reduction in pass rate is attributed to student confidence in using the virtual laboratory.
Citations
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Proceedings ArticleDOI
04 Aug 2022
TL;DR: In this paper , the impact of virtual learning environments on the practical skills of students and practical knowledge is investigated by analyzing the change in pass rates of students in a practical subject such as Electrical Engineering when taught face-to-face as compared to when taught through a VLE such as Sakai online.
Abstract: Open distance learning (ODL) education has been developing rapidly in South Africa. The main reason behind the growth is the demand for online studies created due to the corona pandemic. The ODL system involves study that is not limited by geographical boundaries and extends to many knowledge areas electronically. In practice the study tends to extend to knowledge areas beyond those offered by the standard contact or traditional universities. At the University of South Africa (UNISA), the adoption of the ODL framework to theoretical subjects has been successful by making use of the Sakai virtual learning environment (VLE). The practical subjects or practical knowledge areas on the other hand have previously been taught face-to-face. Therefore, the practical modules have not been effectively taught online particularly in the electrical engineering curriculum. This issue can contribute to graduates who are unskilled in the practical component of a knowledge area, which can lead to unemployment. Virtual learning environments (VLE's) play a vital role when it comes to teaching and learning online. In this paper, the impact of VLE’s on the practical skills of students and practical knowledge is investigated. This is done by analyzing the change in pass rates of students in a practical subject such as Electrical Engineering when taught face-to-face as compared to when taught through a VLE such as Sakai online. Two groups termed as emerging centered learner (ECL) and a developed centered learner (DCL) are investigated. The method evaluates students who study electrical engineering practical module part-time. In this paper the Sakai platform was used as a VLE to teach and then evaluate students in the electrical engineering practical module. The practical guide with the full set of experiments was uploaded on Sakai under additional resources. The students were given the necessary guidelines and tasks via Sakai online, examined and then the pass rates achieved were analyzed at the end of the program and compared to the pass rates achieved using previous face-to-face teaching method used for the same practical’s. It was determined that a VLE can be used to improve the pass rates of a practical module such as electrical engineering taught online in ODL.
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article , students' acceptance towards Open Distance Learning (ODL) virtual Electrotechnology laboratory (EEE111) course in UiTM Pasir Gudang based on exit-entrance survey conducted at the beginning and end of the course with the students' performance as the control group.
Abstract: 516 Abstract Since the year 2020, Open Distance Learning (ODL) has made great impact on higher education institutions worldwide. ODL provides flexibility in education where students are able to attend online classes and watch recorded videos of lectures for revision or missed class. Though many institutions offer online-based course, it is still considered limited particularly in Electrical Engineering courses which requires hands-on in-lab practices. This is a challenge for higher institutions to adjust course content to be adaptable with ODL at the same time meet the course objectives. This paper studies students’ acceptance towards ODL virtual Electrotechnology laboratory (EEE111) course in UiTM Pasir Gudang based on Exit-Entrance Survey conducted at the beginning and end of the course with the students’ performance as the control group. The survey was conducted online with specific questions on students’ perceptions of the course. A total of 165 respondents were recorded for EE111 and EE112 programs. The effectiveness of this virtual laboratory was evaluated at the end of the semester by referring to the students’ performance in this course. Students have been assessed on practical skills, report writing, peer and lecturer review as well as on sustainability element in their mini project. The practical skills that contribute 90% from overall marks have been measured in practical test, laboratory work and mini project. Based on this study, it shows positive acceptance from the students towards ODL EEE111 course with 69.4% and 67.8% overall practical skills achieved for EE112 and EE111 programs respectively.
Proceedings ArticleDOI
04 Aug 2022
TL;DR: In this paper , the impact of virtual learning environments on the practical skills of students and practical knowledge is investigated by analyzing the change in pass rates of students in a practical subject such as Electrical Engineering when taught face-to-face as compared to when taught through a VLE such as Sakai online.
Abstract: Open distance learning (ODL) education has been developing rapidly in South Africa. The main reason behind the growth is the demand for online studies created due to the corona pandemic. The ODL system involves study that is not limited by geographical boundaries and extends to many knowledge areas electronically. In practice the study tends to extend to knowledge areas beyond those offered by the standard contact or traditional universities. At the University of South Africa (UNISA), the adoption of the ODL framework to theoretical subjects has been successful by making use of the Sakai virtual learning environment (VLE). The practical subjects or practical knowledge areas on the other hand have previously been taught face-to-face. Therefore, the practical modules have not been effectively taught online particularly in the electrical engineering curriculum. This issue can contribute to graduates who are unskilled in the practical component of a knowledge area, which can lead to unemployment. Virtual learning environments (VLE's) play a vital role when it comes to teaching and learning online. In this paper, the impact of VLE’s on the practical skills of students and practical knowledge is investigated. This is done by analyzing the change in pass rates of students in a practical subject such as Electrical Engineering when taught face-to-face as compared to when taught through a VLE such as Sakai online. Two groups termed as emerging centered learner (ECL) and a developed centered learner (DCL) are investigated. The method evaluates students who study electrical engineering practical module part-time. In this paper the Sakai platform was used as a VLE to teach and then evaluate students in the electrical engineering practical module. The practical guide with the full set of experiments was uploaded on Sakai under additional resources. The students were given the necessary guidelines and tasks via Sakai online, examined and then the pass rates achieved were analyzed at the end of the program and compared to the pass rates achieved using previous face-to-face teaching method used for the same practical’s. It was determined that a VLE can be used to improve the pass rates of a practical module such as electrical engineering taught online in ODL.
Peer Review
TL;DR: In this paper , the authors present a survey study that explores the implementation of virtual laboratories in STEM courses at the National Open and Distance Learning (NOUN) from the perspective of students.
Abstract: Virtual Laboratory (VL) has revolutionized STEM programs in higher education, and there is an increasing demand for VL education to replace or to focus on an integrative technique in the resolution of real-life issues with the utilization of technology. The high and growing demand for VL education is to replace or complement remote, feasible, and equitable hands-on practical learning, and this will support ubiquitous learning from any place at any time in a flexible environment. A VL allows access via an internet connection and offers learners the required infrastructure to complete laboratory tasks without attending physical laboratory facilities from anywhere and anytime. NOUN is an open and distance learning (ODL) institution with 110 study centres. It is very difficult to duplicate physical laboratories in all the centres for STEM students. Currently, NOUN conducts physical education, or hands-on practical, for students in only thirteen centres, and students from other centres are expected to join the nearest study centre for the exercise, but previous exercises showed that the attendance had been very low due to obvious constraints. However, there is little information on how virtual laboratories are being developed and used, and more research on how virtual laboratories can be effectively used to address equity and access issues in STEM education is needed. This research paper presents a survey study that aims to explore the implementation of virtual laboratories in STEM courses at the NOUN from the perspective of students. This study applied an online survey design by using a Google form to collect data from STEM NOUN students (undergraduate and postgraduate). The study surveyed 4570 students enrolled in STEM courses, and data were collected through an online questionnaire. The questionnaires were distributed using the students’ WhatsApp numbers and consisted of five (5) sections of open- and closed-ended questionnaires. Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) was coded in spread sheets to analyse responses from independent variables among the demographic data collected. The overall result showed that 49% opted for physical laboratories, 21% selected VL, 12% picked collaboration with other universities, 08% adopted hybrid, and 09% chose no idea. NOUN practices remote learning and already has an existing Learning Management System (LMS) website, which allows learners to access it by utilizing their internet connections and a web browser, from anywhere and anytime. This means that the integration of VL, when developed, can easily be plugged into the NOUN's existing LMS. VL are known to keep learners’ interest up, have the ability to generate a lot of data for learning analytics, and are cost effective. The introduction of a VL in NOUN will drastically reduce the rate of attrition among NOUN STEM-based learners. Generally, developed VL for STEM can be shared with STEM courses in other Nigerian higher education institutions since both the conventional and non-conventional modes of learning in Nigeria have the same curriculum.
References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article reports on studies exploring the effectiveness of a virtual environment based on a chemistry laboratory as a tool to prepare university chemistry students studying at a distance for their on-campus residential schools, in response to evidence suggesting that many of these students experienced a lack of confidence and a sense of anxiety approaching these sessions.
Abstract: Many have argued that interactive 3D virtual environments have great educational potential due to their ability to engage learners in the exploration, construction and manipulation of virtual objects, structures and metaphorical representations of ideas. Although learning benefits have been demonstrated in research settings, and substantial usage has occurred in workplace training contexts, there are few published evaluations of applications of such environments within university contexts. This article reports on studies exploring the effectiveness of a virtual environment based on a chemistry laboratory as a tool to prepare university chemistry students studying at a distance for their on-campus residential schools, in response to evidence suggesting that many of these students experienced a lack of confidence and a sense of anxiety approaching these sessions. In an experimental study it was found that the environment was able to be effective as a tool for familiarising students with the laboratory. However, when the resource was provided to distance students, less than half of the students chose to use it, possibly due to the fact that use of the resource was not required for the assessment in the subject. Questionnaire and interview data suggested that most of those who used the resource found that it was a valuable preparatory tool and would recommend its further use. For many students, however, a lack of familiarity with the laboratory was not seen as the major source of their anxiety and therefore a resource allowing them to become familiar with the laboratory did not have a major impact on their learning experience. Given that the ability to apply mathematical techniques and chemistry concepts within the practical sessions emerged as a major source of students' anxiety, it is suggested that the incorporation of instruction or scaffolding for these aspects of the task can be provided, and would make a valuable enhancement to the virtual environment.

227 citations


"Evaluation of the effectiveness of ..." refers background or methods in this paper

  • ...The paper in [2] discusses the effectiveness of a virtual environment based on a chemistry laboratory as a tool to prepare chemistry students studying at a distance for their oncampus residential schooling....

    [...]

  • ...According to [2] the more the instructions given to the students in the form of the tutorial letter for using the simulation the better the efficacy of using the virtual laboratory....

    [...]

  • ...This problem can be solved by giving detailed instructions and scaffolding [2] aspects of the tasks in the experiments given to students....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigated the efficacy of software simulations of electronic circuits laboratories to support beginning electrical engineering students, and found significant improvement in both theory and lab knowledge when scores for all labs were combined, but inconsistent performance on individual labs.
Abstract: This work investigates the efficacy of software simulations of electronic circuits laboratories to support beginning electrical engineering students Experiment 1 was a formative evaluation of an Electronic Laboratory Simulator (ELS), as an optional add-on to physical labs for 120 subjects at four universities All subjects received the same treatment: their normal classes and physical labs, with optional use of simulated labs Subjects took written tests specific to the lab’s content, before and after using each simulated lab Only subjects who took both pre- and post-tests were included Pre- and post-test comparisons indicated significant improvement in both theory and lab knowledge when scores for all labs were combined, but inconsistent performance on individual labs As the treatment included other learning opportunities in addition to simulated labs, the results were not attributed to the simulations, but provided initial indications and qualitative data on subjects’ experiences These helped to improve the labs and the implementation strategies Experiment 2 used 40 college sophomores in a beginning electronic circuits lab Physical lab subjects received seven physical labs Combined lab subjects received a combination of seven simulated labs and two physical labs The latter repeated two of the simulated labs to provide physical lab practice Both treatments used the same assignments Learner outcome measures were: (a) time required to complete a new criterion physical lab; (b) score on written lab and theory tests over all the labs; and (c) comments on the lab experience The group that used combined simulated and physical labs performed significantly better on the written tests than the group using entirely physical labs Both groups were equivalent in time to complete the criterion physical lab Comments about the simulated labs were generally positive, and also provided specific suggestions for changes

117 citations


"Evaluation of the effectiveness of ..." refers background or methods in this paper

  • ...Finally, this process can be applied to a hybrid system where the virtual laboratory is combined with physical experiments as is done in [4] to improve pass rates for the module....

    [...]

  • ...The work in [4] investigates the efficacy of software simulations of electronic circuits laboratories to support electrical engineering students....

    [...]

  • ...This is because the students need to get accustomed to using the virtual laboratory and develop confidence by performing a set of experiments in series as was done in [4]....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The ELLI project as discussed by the authors developed a tele-operative material characterization testing cell along with a remote lab for incremental tube forming and a general virtual experimentation lab for mechanical engineering education with a focus on manufacturing technology.

101 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper aims to design and implement 3D virtual labs, which are considered as a low-cost alternative to educators and students, in science E-learning, and designs and implements a complex application that combines advanced visualization, interactive management through complex virtual devices and intelligent components.

55 citations


"Evaluation of the effectiveness of ..." refers background or methods in this paper

  • ...Virtual laboratories can be integrated into e-learning as is done in [12] and is similar to the procedure implemented in this paper in the Open distance Learning (ODL) context....

    [...]

  • ...In [12,13] they design and implement a 3D virtual laboratory in e-learning which is considered a low-cost alternative to educators and students....

    [...]

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Virtual Science Lab (VSL) is a web-based platform designed to improve learning approaches by introducing a safe and interactive lab environment for students in middle schools in Saudi Arabia.
Abstract: Laboratory activities are playing a substantial role in supporting scientific learning fields by enabling students to obtain practical skills through experiments and by giving them the chance to have a more profound understanding of the content Although laboratory activities are expensive and time-consuming, virtual laboratory activities can save money, time, and effort The Virtual Science Lab (VSL) is a web-based platform designed to improve learning approaches by introducing a safe and interactive lab environment for students in middle schools in Saudi Arabia VSL was found to be an exciting, useful, and enjoyable learning environment during user trials It allowed users to conduct experiments individually and to repeat them multiple times if needed

43 citations