Online Simulations for Student Inquiry Learning: A 2013 University of Twente Study - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1388 Words
Date:  2023-03-07


The research was done at the University of Twente in the Netherlands by de Jong and Kolloffel in the year of 2013. The purpose of the research was to find out how students can use online simulations to engage the students with the materials to have a better and more in-depth understanding of using online simulations. The students use online simulations for their inquiry learning. The research used the hypothesis to improve the effectiveness using the effective instructional method other than practice problems and conventional lessons. The participants of the study included high school students in the Netherlands, and the students participated in the vocational circuit course.

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The research began with fifty-six students, but in the middle of the study, thirteen students left the research because of their personal needs. The participants of the research were randomly selected without following any criteria. The research used the pretest-posttest control group quasi-experiment research design. There were no criteria followed in deciding the group that the students were to be in because the research entailed grouping the students in groups to get the treatment. A group of 23 students received the standard treatment, while 20 students were given the responsibility of working in a virtual lab. The students that participated in the research had earlier engaged in a prior knowledge test, and after the research, the students were later given an after the test. The t-test analysis showed that there was no difference between the pre and after the test. The post-test scored Cohen's d = 0.65, which is an indication of a common effect.

The result from the research indicated that when the students are involved in activities that guide them with the material supports helps them in their studies where they use the materials to make their studies easier. The limitation of the research is that when the students were being given the learning materials, they were not given the learning materials fully random. The test does not also account for the ability of the student because the only pretest measured knowledge about circuits. The research study is significantly based on the fact that the students were learning through experimentation. The experiments allow the student to make decisions to achieve the desired results. The experiments also allowed the students to learn from their mistakes, which is the best way to learn. The research study was like the engineering design process, which leads to gains in content knowledge.

The researchers Schun and Mehalik used design-based learning and compared it with inquiry-based learning. Schun and Mehalik believed that the students are motivated and increase their interests in motivation while using the design-based learning because the students can relate to the materials used in the study. The students have to think and come up with ideas to solve the challenges that they face in their studies. The challenges that the students face enable them to become problem solvers because they will think about how to solve the challenges. The iterative is the process used in the engineering design process, and the students in the study used the process. The iterative design allows the students to design their learning. The more the students are connected, the more the students get interested in their learning.

The research study was set up in a contrast design; there was control of the groups and treatment of the data that was gathered using the knowledge pre- and post-test. The students also collect demographic information. The study involved more female students with their male counterparts. More African American students were involved in the study. The two groups formed for the study combined their results and derived the mean. The aspect that was common between the two groups formed for the study was to close the race and socioeconomic status gap. The study found out that the design-based method is the best method that can help low achieving American students. The male groups had the most differences between groups when compared to females. The mean for males rose from 0.05 while the females rose from 0.08 to 0.14. The research was significant in proving that engineering design support learning regardless of the gender, ability level, and race of the students.

Engagement in Design-Based Learning

A study was conducted in North Carolina State University in 2015 by Franzen to investigate whether the trial and error learning was a way of learning in STEM that can be considered effective. The sample population was undergraduate students from the University. A total of 23 students took part in the study, and they were mainly the juniors and the sophomores. The 23 students were divided into two groups consisting of 12 and 11 participants. 74.8 percent of the participants were students majoring in education. The group consisting of 12 students participated by completing a virtual activity as well as reading materials and responding to quizzes. The group with 11 participants participated in the study entirely using stimulation, so there was no use of readings and quizzes.

During the study, the researcher collected data on the flight time that the glider used during the development stage. The method of data analysis for the study was the Mann Whitney test. The reason why this data analysis design was used is that the sample size considered for the study was small. A focus group method was used to collect qualitative data. The first study question was quantitative ad it was establishing whether there was a distinction between the trial and error method of learning and the application of the knowledge obtained through this method. The duration of flight gains, the number of itineration as well as end fight duration will not vary. The second hypothesis is that the difference in the fight, in the beginning, will vary between the two study groups. The first study question will be quantitative, and the second one will be qualitative. The study will focus on comprehensively analyzing the validity of the two hypotheses.

One of the limitations of the study was that all the participants were from the same class taking the same degree and were in the same school, which is North Carolina State University.The findings of the study can, therefore, not be effectively generalized. For research to be generalized, the participants should be from diverse but relevant backgrounds. The second limitation of the study was that there was an underrepresentation of the females. Out of the 23 participants, only eight were female, with 15 being men. Gender equality was, therefore, not present in the study. Additionally, the sample size for the study was relatively small.

The study, however, has several merits, one of them being that the group responding on knowledge application had longer start flight time. While the trial and error group has relatively little initial flight time, they gained more with the time than the knowledge application time, which had more time. In both knowledge application and trial and error groups, the final flight time was the same. The data were analyzed using SPSS, and as indicated in the hypothesis, the difference between the two was minimal. The p-value was 0.295, which can be considered as an insignificant difference. When it comes to iterations, the difference between the two focus groups was negligible. However, the insignificant difference can be attributed to the small sample size, so it is advisable to repeat the study with a larger sample size to get better results.

In engineering trial and error is a significant design process. To get better and reliable outcomes, it is recommended one uses many iterations. This method of learning has not been widely explored, so this study is very relevant. Studies have shown that giving students freedom creates enthusiasm and interest and results in better understanding. Giving learners total control makes them desire to know more, and they end up discovering man things in the process.

Hall conducted a study at Hasfra University, and he wanted to investigate whether the engagement and knowledge of students were impacted by the design process in engineering. The participants for the study were 10 females and 15 males. The participants were encouraged to work as a team and be patient. The research used both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and he realized that the participants were fully engaged in creating their designs. The teacher observed the participants and awarded them a score depending on the level of engagement. It was a method that was beneficial, especially to shy students.

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Online Simulations for Student Inquiry Learning: A 2013 University of Twente Study - Research Paper. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved from

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