Achievement of students receiving computer simulation or hands-on instruction in post-secondary electronics technology laboratory instruction
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The purpose of this experimental study was to compare the differences in achievement scores in categories based on resistance, voltage, current and power for series/parallel electronics circuits of students receiving laboratory computer simulation or hands-on laboratory skills instruction. The experiment involved beginning technical students in a 2-year community college in an electronics technology associates degree program that required both classroom and laboratory instruction. The dependent variable of this experiment was student achievement scores using a t-test for categories based on resistance, voltage, current and power. The t-test score of the resistance category (M = 78.57, SD = 19.26) for the hands-on laboratory and (M = 81.25, SD = 16.08) for the simulation laboratory showed no significant statistical difference. The t-test score of the voltage category (M = 67.41, SD = 15.62) for the hands-on laboratory and (M = 69.49, SD = 15.30) for the simulation laboratory showed no significant statistical difference. The t-test score of the current category (M = 63.99, SD = 17.74) for the hands-on laboratory and (M = 71.28, SD = 15.79) for the simulation laboratory showed a significant statistical difference and also a greater mean score for the simulation (treatment group) over the the hand-on (control group) post-test scores. The t-test score of the power category (M = 60.12, SD = 17.37) for the hands-on laboratory and (M = 66.52, SD = 12.54) for the simulation laboratory showed no significant statistical difference. The independent variables were the method of providing laboratory skills instruction, either computer simulation of laboratory work or the physical construction of laboratory work. The study found a significant statistical difference in the current category but not a significant difference in the resistance, voltage and power category between achievement scores using computer simulation laboratory or hands-on laboratory. Computer simulation laboratory could be used in the development of distance learning or online classes. The computer simulation software could develop the skill set of the electronics student further by introducing various simulations of electronics circuits as the core competencies are achieved by the student.