Using Hands-On and Virtual Laboratories Alone or Together―Which Works Better for Acquiring Knowledge and Skills?

  • Hasan Ozgur KapiciEmail author
  • Hakan Akcay
  • Ton de Jong


Although hands-on laboratory experiments are traditionally used in schools, virtual laboratories have entered today’s classrooms, due to their specific affordances. In this study, we compared the effect of using hands-on and virtual laboratories in isolation to two different combinations on middle school (7th grade) students’ acquisition of conceptual knowledge and inquiry skills. Our findings indicate that using hands-on and virtual laboratories sequentially instead of in isolation gives better results for students’ acquisition of knowledge and inquiry skills. This result, together with similar findings from other studies, suggests that virtual and hands-on laboratories may have complementary affordances. In the current study, no advantage was seen for either of the two different combinations used.


Virtual laboratory Hands-on laboratory Conceptual knowledge Inquiry skills Science teaching 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in the current study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and ministry of national education research committee.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Science EducationYildiz Technical UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Instructional TechnologyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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