Computer simulations can aid learning just as much as direct observation, study finds

Science Direct reports:

A study found that people who used computer simulations to learn about moon phases understood the concepts just as well — and in some cases better — than did those who learned from collecting data from viewing the moon.

The results suggest the use of computer simulations in science classes may be an effective and often less expensive and time-consuming way to teach some science concepts, said Kathy Cabe Trundle, lead author of the study and associate professor of science education at Ohio State University.

“These results give us confidence that computer simulations can be effective in the classroom,” Trundle said. “But now we need to do further study to see if it works in others areas of science.”

Trundle conducted the study with Randy Bell, associate professor of science education at the University of Virginia. Their study appears online in the journal Computers & Education and will be published in a future print edition.

The article by Trundle & Bell is available here (free access to abstract; subscription required for full article).

Note: Cross-posted with my Education Blog.

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