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The development, implementation, and evaluation of Labdog - a novel web-based laboratory response system for practical work in science education

The development, implementation, and evaluation of Labdog - a novel web-based laboratory response system for practical work in science education
The development, implementation, and evaluation of Labdog - a novel web-based laboratory response system for practical work in science education
The teaching laboratory is common component of chemical, and science, education. However it is often an exercise in recipe-following, where students simply follow instructions. This research adopts a design-based research (DBR) approach to conceiving, developing, and piloting Labdog: a novel web-based technology for the teaching laboratory. Educators create a digitised version of practical instructions in Labdog, and can enhance instruction through the use of questions, and evidence recording. Students access Labdog before, during, and after the laboratory to answer questions, and record observations in text and photo. Labdog can be considered a Laboratory Response System (LaRS), a novel type of technology, which combines the pedagogical bases of formative assessment, classroom response systems, e-portfolios, and electronic lab notebooks. In alignment with DBR principles, this work adopts an iterative approach to generation and evaluation of such a novel technology. Specifically, this work details a series of three pilot studies, followed by a year-long investigation - each of which took place in Southampton between 2015-2017, with A-level equivalent chemistry students. DBR principles also focus on providing actionable advise foreducators who may wish to use Labdog, or some future LaRS technology. The results from these pilots repeatedly suggest that Labdog helped students consciously engage with the relevant chemical or scientific principles of their actions. The evaluation revealed the importance of well-considered design of practicals in LaRS software, notably the need to space questions and steps in accordance with the flow of the practical activities themselves. Students should be allowed to immerse themselves in practical activities, without having to worry about managing the activity on Labdog simultaneously. These findings relate to the psychological concepts of cognitive overload, which should be avoided through question content and focus, and the flow-state, which can be encouraged by the spacing of questions and consideration of practical difficulty versus student ability. Ultimately the research presents a completely novel, technologically-enhanced approach to practical work. It produces both a new tool, and a series of heuristics for designing practical work with a LaRS, based on this, and previous, research. In doing so, this work represents a successful example of DBR, and identifies a number of avenues for future research. Namely, there is a need for more experimentally-designed investigation of the impact of LaRS use on student understanding, as well as more exploratory work on cognitive overload and question design.
Education, Educational Technology, Chemical Education, Teaching laboratory
University of Southampton
Wilson, Thomas Joseph
79279d6a-c579-4e8c-9a63-861c076056c1
Wilson, Thomas Joseph
79279d6a-c579-4e8c-9a63-861c076056c1
Read, David
64479ab2-6154-4420-851d-d8d000906a34
Duckmanton, Paul
445f98c2-9877-4902-951b-00f31bc1d288
Coles, Simon
3116f58b-c30c-48cf-bdd5-397d1c1fecf8

Wilson, Thomas Joseph (2018) The development, implementation, and evaluation of Labdog - a novel web-based laboratory response system for practical work in science education. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 259pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The teaching laboratory is common component of chemical, and science, education. However it is often an exercise in recipe-following, where students simply follow instructions. This research adopts a design-based research (DBR) approach to conceiving, developing, and piloting Labdog: a novel web-based technology for the teaching laboratory. Educators create a digitised version of practical instructions in Labdog, and can enhance instruction through the use of questions, and evidence recording. Students access Labdog before, during, and after the laboratory to answer questions, and record observations in text and photo. Labdog can be considered a Laboratory Response System (LaRS), a novel type of technology, which combines the pedagogical bases of formative assessment, classroom response systems, e-portfolios, and electronic lab notebooks. In alignment with DBR principles, this work adopts an iterative approach to generation and evaluation of such a novel technology. Specifically, this work details a series of three pilot studies, followed by a year-long investigation - each of which took place in Southampton between 2015-2017, with A-level equivalent chemistry students. DBR principles also focus on providing actionable advise foreducators who may wish to use Labdog, or some future LaRS technology. The results from these pilots repeatedly suggest that Labdog helped students consciously engage with the relevant chemical or scientific principles of their actions. The evaluation revealed the importance of well-considered design of practicals in LaRS software, notably the need to space questions and steps in accordance with the flow of the practical activities themselves. Students should be allowed to immerse themselves in practical activities, without having to worry about managing the activity on Labdog simultaneously. These findings relate to the psychological concepts of cognitive overload, which should be avoided through question content and focus, and the flow-state, which can be encouraged by the spacing of questions and consideration of practical difficulty versus student ability. Ultimately the research presents a completely novel, technologically-enhanced approach to practical work. It produces both a new tool, and a series of heuristics for designing practical work with a LaRS, based on this, and previous, research. In doing so, this work represents a successful example of DBR, and identifies a number of avenues for future research. Namely, there is a need for more experimentally-designed investigation of the impact of LaRS use on student understanding, as well as more exploratory work on cognitive overload and question design.

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Published date: January 2018
Keywords: Education, Educational Technology, Chemical Education, Teaching laboratory

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 418168
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/418168
PURE UUID: 3a7fa0e2-c6c3-456e-802e-4c7699ad2730
ORCID for David Read: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0575-3816
ORCID for Paul Duckmanton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5173-4651
ORCID for Simon Coles: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8414-9272

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:48

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Contributors

Author: Thomas Joseph Wilson
Thesis advisor: David Read ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Paul Duckmanton ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Simon Coles ORCID iD

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