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Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 15;5:14108. doi: 10.1038/srep14108.

Simulated Interactive Research Experiments as Educational Tools for Advanced Science.

Author information

1
University of Vienna, Faculty of Physics, VCQ, QuNaBioS, Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
2
University of Vienna, Faculty of Physics, AECCP, Porzellangasse 4, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Abstract

Experimental research has become complex and thus a challenge to science education. Only very few students can typically be trained on advanced scientific equipment. It is therefore important to find new tools that allow all students to acquire laboratory skills individually and independent of where they are located. In a design-based research process we have investigated the feasibility of using a virtual laboratory as a photo-realistic and scientifically valid representation of advanced scientific infrastructure to teach modern experimental science, here, molecular quantum optics. We found a concept based on three educational principles that allows undergraduate students to become acquainted with procedures and concepts of a modern research field. We find a significant increase in student understanding using our Simulated Interactive Research Experiment (SiReX), by evaluating the learning outcomes with semi-structured interviews in a pre/post design. This suggests that this concept of an educational tool can be generalized to disseminate findings in other fields.

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