Enhancing Learning Through Computer Simulations: The Impact of Learning Objects

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Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Proceedings of SimTecT

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The use of digital technology in instruction is gaining momentum among educators. Educational simulations, in the form of Learning Objects, have been the major directions of Curriculum Corporations in Australia. Learning Objects developed through Macromedia Flash and/or through Java, offer high level interactivity to users facilitating learning. This paper highlights how the use of learning objects impacts on students’ learning, especially in the sciences where students are known to bring with them into the classroom a number of alternative conceptions resulting from their prior knowledge and experiences. A number of research studies have found that conventional instruction is not effective in dealing with students’ alternative conceptions, especially in physics. For learning objects to be an effective tool in transforming students’ alternative conceptions and facilitate scientific understanding, it should include the following pedagogical steps: First, it should be able to introduce new concepts clearly and concisely. Second, it should address students’ alternative conceptions. Finally, it should provide a means in assessing students’ learning (diagnostics). A number of objects are reviewed to explore this pedagogical hierarchy. The paper concludes with examining considerations for evaluation of Learning Objects and implementation for practice.

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