Exploring the potential of simulations as preparation tools for university laboratory classes

Sjors Verstege, Koos Van Der Kolk, Julia Diederen, Rob Hartog, Harry Gruppen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Laboratory education plays an important role within natural science education. Although widely used, there is a general consensus that the time, effort and costs invested in laboratory education often are not well balanced by its contribution to intended learning outcomes. In the study described in this paper, teachers (n=133) from 13 universities, including 3 universities of applied sciences, in The Netherlands have participated in a survey on laboratory education. According to 53% of the teachers, students could learn more from laboratory education than they currently do. This is amongst others attributed to poor student preparation. Although 89% of the teachers claim that student preparation for laboratory education is important, only 25% of all the teachers indicate that their students are adequately prepared before entering the laboratory class room. Teachers report that students are often not sufficiently aware of the need for preparation but acknowledge also that this lack of awareness is partly induced by the fact that they adapt their laboratory education based on the experience that students do not prepare. About 43% of the teachers is enthusiastic about the concept of a laboratory simulation that helps students to prepare for laboratory education. In 20 follow-up interviews, the potential of gamified laboratory simulations as preparation tools was discussed. Based on literature, survey results, and interviews, the design requirements for such gamified laboratory simulations are described in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
EventInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 4 Jul 20166 Jul 2016


ConferenceInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies


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