The effect of microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) experimentation on students' learning of capacitance in introductory college physics courses in Saudi Arabia
Fahad S. Al-Shaya, University of Pittsburgh, United States
University of Pittsburgh . Awarded
This study attempted to identify effects of Microcomputer-Based Laboratory (MBL) experimentation on students' learning about capacitance in introductory college physics courses at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. The study asked if students using MBL technique in a capacitor experiment understand capacitance better than do students taught via traditional hands-on activity, as measured by the Capacitor Experiment Achievement Test (CEAT).
The study sample totaled 114 students in three introductory college physics courses (PHYS 101: 41 science and agriculture students; PHYS 104: 36 engineering and computer science students; PHYS 106: 37 health science students). Each course was randomly divided into MBL and control lab groups, resulting in 57 students in three control groups and 57 in three MBL groups. All groups had identical objectives, procedures, and capacitance and resistor values. Data collection method was the only difference, control groups using hands-on activity and MBL groups using MBL equipment.
Two-Way ANOVA results showed MBL groups with significantly better understanding of capacitance concepts than control groups (p < 0.0005) as measured by the CEAT. For a deeper analysis, each part of the CEAT was analyzed separately, as well as the total CEAT. In Part 1, designed to measure understanding of capacitance content, results showed no significant difference between the two types of groups (p = 0.23). In Part 2, which measured students' skills at interpreting graphs involving the capacitor experiment, results revealed a significant difference (p < 0.0005), the MBL groups being superior. On all three tests, neither main effect of courses nor interaction between type of treatment and courses was significant. These results clearly showed that the difference in student achievement on the CEAT came from Part 2 of the CEAT. This supported the idea that the most effective use of MBL was related to its ability to help students with graph interpretation.
Al-Shaya, F.S. The effect of microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) experimentation on students' learning of capacitance in introductory college physics courses in Saudi Arabia. Ph.D. thesis, University of Pittsburgh.
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