A Case Study for Comparing the Effectiveness of a Computer Simulation and a Hands-On Activity on Learning Electric Circuits
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Rice University
University of California, Davis
Publication date: 2015-07-13
Corresponding author
Adem Ekmekci   

Rice University, 5615 Kirby Dr., Suite 301, 77018 Houston, United States
EURASIA J. Math., Sci Tech. Ed 2015;11(4):765–775
Science education reform emphasizes innovative and constructivist views of science teaching and learning that promotes active learning environments, dynamic instructions, and authentic science experiments. Technology-based and hands-on instructional designs are among innovative science teaching and learning methods. Research shows that these two types of instructional methods designed with constructivist views of science are more beneficial for students in learning science concepts when compared to traditional science instruction.

Materials and methods:
However, the comparison of effectiveness of the two approaches as well as their affordances has not been clearly addressed. This paper presents a case study comparing the effectiveness of computer-based versus hands-on instructional activity on learning electric circuits.

The results show that both approaches significantly improved pre-service mathematics and science teachers’ learning of electric circuits. The two types of instructional activities did not significantly differ from each other in terms of learning gains. However, hands-on activity provided ample opportunities for group interaction as well as task-related discussions.

This study shows that both computer-based and hands-on activities can be effective when utilized in the right classroom environment.