Comparison Between Computer Assisted Instruction as a Laboratory Strategy, and Traditional Lab Instruction as Applied to Teaching Physical Science to Suburban High School Students


Marty Hayward

Date of Award

Fall 2016




Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


One of the major components of reforming today’s education is the use of technology. Effective use of technology must be supported by significant investments in hardware, software, infrastructure, professional development, and support services, over the last decade, we as a nation have invested more than $66 billion in school technology (Lei, J.2010).

Educators are expanding classrooms with virtual environments and simulations, and students are seeking choices outside the brick and mortar school building, even opting to take the entire class online. This trend aligns with this research due to the laboratory experiences being moved to an online format. This research will compare the use of technology in the form of supplemental virtual labs and simulations to traditional direct lab instruction, as measured by the students’ achievement on benchmark tests.

This research will add to the existing literature by providing data comparing technology as a supplemental strategy, to traditional instruction by measuring any differences in academic achievement as measured by benchmark testing.

The findings suggest that there is no statistically significant difference between students who learn using virtual simulation compared to those who learn using traditional lab instructions. Similarly, there are no statistically significant differences explained by gender and ethnicity. The study established that virtual simulation and traditional lab instructions both have strong points that are beneficial to the science learners. Further research, therefore, needs to be conducted on how the two approaches can be brought together into a complementary relationship.

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