Designing Animated Simulations and Web-Based Assessments to Improve Electrical Engineering Education

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Web-Based Engineering Education: Critical Design and Effective Tools


A.K. Haghi & D.L. Russell


IGI Global

Publication Date



Over the past decade, our research group has uncovered more evidence about the difficulties undergraduate students have understanding electrical circuit behavior. This led to the development of an AC/DC Concept Inventory instrument to assess student understanding of these concepts, and various software tools have been developed to address the identified difficulties students have when learning about electrical circuits. In this chapter two software tools in particular are discussed, a web-based dynamic assessment environment (Inductor) and an animated circuit simulation (Nodicity). Students showed gains over time when using Inductor, and students using the simulation showed significant improvements on half of the questions in the AC/DC Concept Inventory. The chapter concludes by discussing current and future work focused on creating a more complete, well-rounded circuits learning environment suitable for supplementing traditional circuits instruction. This in-progress work includes the use of a contrasting cases strategy that presents pairs of simulated circuit problems, as well as the design of an online learning community in which teachers and students can share their work.


Originally published by IGI Global.