Inspiring Innovation Using Virtual Environment to Conduct Laboratory Practicals

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled the education sector to evolve into adopting the distinct use of technology to facilitate online learning. This adoption of online learning necessitates the change in the design and delivery of the syllabus especially for laboratory practicals, which was primarily designed for a conventional set-up. The laboratory practicals mostly before Covid-19 pandemic were based on hands-on and design-oriented curriculum, which during the pandemic needs to be adopted and facilitated for online learning. The design element should include the three key components in order to provide a good educational experience: social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence. This case study presents the outcomes with respect to the learners’ attitude towards the perception of self-regulated learning, participation and the content knowledge conducted during the online laboratory practicals that was designed using the social, cognitive and teaching presence. The sample size includes students (n=334) from the Bachelor of Technology programme for three different courses at The Open University of Sri Lanka for the academic year 2019 to 2021. The participants were involved in both virtual and onsite laboratory sessions for three courses, which use similar laboratory activities, related to electronic and communication related topics. An online feedback form was designed to assess the interest level of the learners for the onsite laboratory sessions between the periods of 2019-2020 and virtual laboratory sessions between the periods of 2020-2021. The content knowledge was evaluated through assessments that were provided throughout the academic year 2019 to 2021. The average marks received by the students for the assessments increased by 15% for the laboratory practical conducted online while the participation improved by 30% for the laboratory practical conducted online when compared to onsite and online laboratory practicals. The student feedback demonstrated the intention to continuously enrol in virtual laboratory sessions in the future indicating motivation for the self-regulated learning approach. // Paper ID 7442

Virtual Education,Online Learning,Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Sri Lanka