Online learning offers many opportunities for students, including increased flexibility; however, it can be more challenging to integrate hands-on learning experiences into an online learning environment. Hands-on learning increases student success and retention, and is especially critical in fields like medicine, nursing and science. Courses that blend online and in-person learning can rely upon laboratory work, but many others do not have that opportunity. The smart use of both high-tech and very low-tech learning options can bring hands-on learning to the online classroom.
The Virtual Laboratory
Virtual simulations provide an effective way to integrate hands-on experience into the science classroom, particularly at lower and introductory levels. For instance, anatomical dissections can be done via online simulations. A high quality online simulation allows the student to very closely mimic the experience of actual dissection. Incorporating virtual laboratories not only allows students to experience dissection and other activities online, but also offers a substantial cost savings to colleges and universities. In addition to dissection, virtual simulations offer opportunities to practice other skills, like electrical engineering.
Traditional experiments in the chemistry lab do not translate well to online simulations, but many basic principles of the chemistry laboratory can be taught in the home kitchen, using common, everyday components. Kitchen chemistry can allow students to learn experimental methodology and technique while taking online courses.
Modern technology has expanded the learning options for students without access to traditional classrooms. With the smart use of virtual laboratory simulations and home experiments, the online classroom becomes a bit closer to the traditional laboratory-based science class. YuJa makes it simple to create and demonstrate experiments in the classroom, integrating with classroom peripherals to provide an easy to see and understand lecture capture experience. Students can take what they’ve watched and use it in their own kitchens or on their own computers with virtual simulations.
Feldstein, Michael. “Teaching Hands-On Classes Online.” E-Literate. Web. Accessed on 19 August 2015.
Rivera, Carla. “For Some Students, Virtual Labs Replace Hands-On Experiments.” L.A. Times. Web. Accessed on 19 August 2015.