Enhancing Digital Simulated Laboratory Assessments: a Test of Pre-Laboratory Activities with the Learning Error and Formative Feedback Model
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Digitally simulated laboratory assessments (DSLAs) may be used to measure competencies such as problem solving and scientific inquiry because they provide an environment that allows the process of learning to be captured. These assessments provide many benefits that are superior to traditional hands-on laboratory tasks; as such, it is important to investigate different ways to maximize the potential of DSLAs in increasing student learning. This study investigated two enhancements—a pre-laboratory activity (PLA) and a learning error intervention (LEI)—that are hypothesized to enhance the use of DSLAs as an educational tool. The results indicate students who were administered the PLA reported statistically lower levels of test anxiety when compared to their peers who did not receive the activity. Furthermore, students who received the LEI scored statistically higher scores on the more difficult problems administered during and after the DSLA. These findings provide preliminary evidence that both a PLA and LEI may be beneficial in improving students’ performance on a DSLA. Understanding the benefits of these enhancements may help educators better utilize DSLAs in the classroom to improve student science achievement.
KeywordsDigitally simulated laboratory assessment Pre-laboratory activity Learning error and formative feedback (LEAFF) model
This study was funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (grant number 435-2016-0114) to Dr. Jacqueline Leighton.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Dr. Man-Wai Chu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Jacqueline P. Leighton declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants’ parents/guardians included in the study. Student assent was also obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The ethics board approvals from the institution where the corresponding author worked (No. Pro00040790) and school district in which students were enrolled were obtained.
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