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Contribution: Prior studies comparing the effectiveness of different laboratory learning modes do not allow one to draw a universally valid conclusion, as other influences are mixed with the learning modes. In order to contribute to the existing body of work and to add another piece to the puzzle, this article demonstrates an improved methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of computer-simulated laboratories in comparison to hands-on exercises using a battery basics practical course as a case study. Background: Computer-simulated experiments are becoming increasingly popular for conducting laboratory exercises in higher education and vocational training institutions. To ensure the consistent quality of laboratory learning, an accurate comparison between the results of simulated experiments and practical hands-on experiments is required. Intended Outcomes: In this article, the achievement of the following learning objectives were compared between the two laboratory modes: 1) comprehension of the most important parameters of battery cells and 2) knowledge on how these parameters can be determined using adequate experimental procedures. Application Design: To avoid interference of factors other than laboratory mode on the learning, laboratory instructions and experimental interfaces ensured identical execution of the experiments in the compared modes. Using a counterbalanced methodology, the two laboratory modes alternated by the session, while the experimental procedures remained constant regardless of the respective modes. Findings: Tests taken by the participants after conducting the laboratory experiments revealed that hands-on laboratories resulted in statistically significantly better student performance than simulated laboratories. This difference was even more pronounced for the participants that finished a vocational education and training program before the university studies.
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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON EDUCATION 1
Teaching Battery Basics in Laboratories:
Hands-On Versus Simulated Experiments
Fabian Steger ,Member, IEEE, Alexander Nitsche, Alexander Arbesmeier, Katja D. Brade,
Hans-Georg Schweiger, Member, IEEE, and Iouri Belski ,Senior Member, IEEE
AbstractContribution: Prior studies comparing the
effectiveness of different laboratory learning modes do
not allow one to draw a universally valid conclusion, as other
influences are mixed with the learning modes. In order to
contribute to the existing body of work and to add another
piece to the puzzle, this article demonstrates an improved
methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of computer-simulated
laboratories in comparison to hands-on exercises using a battery
basics practical course as a case study.
Background: Computer-simulated experiments are becoming
increasingly popular for conducting laboratory exercises in
higher education and vocational training institutions. To ensure
the consistent quality of laboratory learning, an accurate compar-
ison between the results of simulated experiments and practical
hands-on experiments is required.
Intended Outcomes: In this article, the achievement of the
following learning objectives were compared between the two lab-
oratory modes: 1) comprehension of the most important param-
eters of battery cells and 2) knowledge on how these parameters
can be determined using adequate experimental procedures.
Application Design: To avoid interference of factors other
than laboratory mode on the learning, laboratory instructions
and experimental interfaces ensured identical execution of the
experiments in the compared modes. Using a counterbalanced
methodology, the two laboratory modes alternated by the session,
while the experimental procedures remained constant regardless
of the respective modes.
Findings: Tests taken by the participants after conducting
the laboratory experiments revealed that hands-on laboratories
resulted in statistically significantly better student performance
than simulated laboratories. This difference was even more pro-
nounced for the participants that finished a vocational education
and training program before the university studies.
Manuscript received August 27, 2018; revised May 6, 2019, August 26,
2019 and January 10, 2020; accepted January 22, 2020. This work was sup-
ported by the Post-Grand-Fund Program of the German Federal Ministry of
Education and Research under Grant 16PGF0164. (Corresponding author:
Fabian Steger.)
Fabian Steger is with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, 85049 Ingolstadt, Germany,
and also with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Royal
Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia (e-mail:
ieee_pub@fabian-steger.de).
Alexander Nitsche and Katja D. Brade are with the Center of Applied
Research, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, 85049 Ingolstadt, Germany.
Alexander Arbesmeier is with the Department of Development Studies,
University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria.
Hans-Georg Schweiger is with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, 85049 Ingolstadt,
Germany, and also with the Center of Applied Research, Technische
Hochschule Ingolstadt, 85049 Ingolstadt, Germany.
Iouri Belski is with the School of Engineering, Royal Melbourne Institute
of Technology, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TE.2020.2970554
Index Terms—Battery, electrical engineering, energy storages,
hands-on, knowledge gain, laboratory learning, simulation, stu-
dent experience.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. For more information, see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
This article has been accepted for inclusion in a future issue of this journal. Content is final as presented, with the exception of pagination.
STEGER et al.: TEACHING BATTERY BASICS IN LABORATORIES: HANDS-ON VERSUS SIMULATED EXPERIMENTS 9
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Viele Universitäten und Berufsbildungseinrichtungen führen simulierte Experimente in Praktika durch, um Kosten für Laborausstattung zu sparen. Diese können vor allem bei potentiell gefährlichen Lernobjekten wie z.B. Lithium-Ionen-Zellen sehr hoch sein. Die Effektivität simulierter Experimente im Vergleich zu praktischen Übungen wird in diversen Studien betrachtet. Da die meisten dieser Untersuchungen Studierende aus Versuchs- und Kontrollgruppen signifikant unterschiedlichen Bedingungen (angepasste Lernziele, Betreuungsumfang und -art, Fernlernen vs. Lernen an der Universität, unterschiedliche Lehrmaterialien) aussetzen, sind meist keine allgemein gültigen Schlussfolgerungen bezüglich des Erfolgs der Lernmodi möglich. Die hier beschriebene Studie vergleicht deshalb die Lernergebnisse aus praktischen Experimenten mit Versuchen auf Basis computergestützter Simulation unter Anwendung einer Methodik, bei der sowohl die Lernziele als auch das experimentelle Vorgehen der Studierenden strikt übereinstimmen.
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Many universities and vocational training institutions conduct laboratories as simulated experiments. This is due to the costs and supervision needs to conduct hands-on labs safely. Numerous studies have presented mixed opinions on whether hands-on laboratory work is more conducive to learning than a simulated laboratory. Most of the studies put students from experimental and control groups in significantly different conditions. Therefore, it is hard to reach any definite conclusion regarding the influence of the learning mode onto the learning achievements. PURPOSE This study compares learning outcomes of student laboratory work in an energy storages course conducted in two different modes: first as a practical hands-on exercise and second using computer-based simulations. APPROACH In order to provide reliable insights, this study implements optimized research methodology to avoid any other effect (e.g. learning synchronicity/distance learning/instructions) on the learning outcome rather than the effect of the learning mode itself. The student laboratory experiments were created in a manner that they could be conducted in both modes in the same way and using a single set of instructions. To ensure a comparable group environment for the individual student, the students were arranged into two similar groups based on the student's practical experience. In this crossover study, the groups were taught the same topics by means of interchanging learning modes. RESULTS To evaluate the influence of each mode on student learning, short written tests regarding the previous experiment were conducted at the beginning of the subsequent laboratory session. 102 students have taken part in the study in two years. Overall learning results of hands-on experiments were slightly better than those of simulated laboratories (Cohen's d=0.25), the difference in performance was statistically significant (p<0.02). Through solicited feedback on each laboratory session, in hands-on mode more students expressed they have acquired new insights/comprehensions (76% vs. 66%, Cohen's d=0.23, small effect, p<0.07). CONCLUSIONS Following the strategy not to optimize the lessons individually to the learning mode, other influences on the learning outcome, which were usually mixed, were excluded. The students' subjective opinions show advantages of the hands-on mode. Based on the objective data, a weak, but significant outcome to better knowledge acquisition with hands-on laboratory experiments was achieved. This observation is against the trend of the literature in the last years towards better or equal learning with nontraditional labs. Some of the excluded factors might have a stronger influence on student learning than estimated previously. To get a clear view, the authors recommend isolated research.
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pp121-128 This cross-over study compares student laboratory work conducted in two different learning modes: first as a practical hands-on exercise and second using computer-based simulations. The research methodology was optimized to avoid other effects on the learning outcome. To evaluate the influence of the mode, short tests on knowledge gained during the previous experiment were conducted at the beginning of the next laboratory session. In 2016, forty students have taken part. Overall learning results of hands-on experiments were slightly better than those of simulated laboratories, but the difference in performance was not statistically significant. The study is continuing in 2017 with 30 participants. In addition to the knowledge tests, after each laboratory session the students were asked for their opinion in an online survey. A similar percentage of the students stated the execution of the experiments is beneficial for their future professional life. In the hands-on learning mode more students expressed they have acquired new knowledge. Although more students assessed the simulated laboratories as more challenging compared to hands-on experiments, more students mentioned obstacles while conducting the hands-on equivalents.
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Hochqualifizierte Fachkräfte und Ingenieure sind ein entscheidender Erfolgsfaktor für die Elektromobilität. Aufgrund des hohen Anteils des Energiespeichers an der Wertschöpfung von E-Fahrzeugen, kommt einem umfangreicheren Wissen sowie praktische Erfahrungen in diesem Bereich eine hohe Bedeutung zu. Deshalb wurde an der Technischen Hochschule Ingolstadt im Rahmen der Bildungsinitiative „Schaufenster Elektromobilität Bayern-Sachsen“ ein Batterietestsystem entwickelt, das eine praxisnahe Ausbildung von Studierenden erlaubt. Das Tischgerät unterstützt temperaturabhängige Versuche mit Lithium-Ionen-Zellen und anderen Energiespeicherzellen, während ein spezielles Sicherheitsmodul jederzeit ein Höchstmaß an Sicherheit im Versuchsbetrieb gewährleistet.
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BACKGROUND Understanding the characteristics of rechargeable batteries is essential for a successful career in the field of research and development of hybrid and electric cars. It has been shown that hands-on laboratory work can significantly influence the outcomes of student learning. However, universities and vocational training institutions need proper laboratory equipment to engage students in effective learning of batteries' behaviour. Increased amount of supervision to conduct hand-on labs safely as well as costs of specialised laboratory equipment make hands-on laboratories expensive. Therefore, many universities conduct such laboratories as simulated experiments. PURPOSE The aim of this study was to compare the learning outcomes of laboratory work on lithium-ion battery cells and components of battery systems conducted in two different modes: as a practical hands-on exercise and by means of computer-based simulation. The research had a strong focus on the learning mode of the laboratory experiment, the method was designed to avoid other effects on the result. DESIGN/METHOD The students were split into two comparable groups based on their prior practical experience to ensure a similar background level of the two groups. Each group was taught four content areas: two as practical hands-on experiments and two as computer-based simulations. One group completed the even laboratory sessions as hands-on experiments and the odd ones as computer-based simulations. The other group completed the odd laboratory sessions as hands-on experiments and the even as computer-based simulations. To evaluate the influence of the learning mode onto the student learning, anonymous 10-minute tests on knowledge gained during the previous experiment were conducted at the beginning of the next laboratory session. The average group results between hands-on and simulated mode were compared, to answer the question, which mode was more successful to transfer the knowledge. The method excludes learning synchronicity/distance learning/supervision effects, and is focused on the mode. RESULTS Forty students took part in the study. Three of four content areas showed weak to moderate effect: hands-on laboratory sessions led to a better knowledge acquisition compared to simulated experiments. One content area did not show any effect of study mode. Overall learning results of hands-on experiments were slightly better than that of simulated laboratories (weak effect, Cohen's d = 0.22), but the difference in performance was not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS This study showed that the described methodology is applicable to focus on the comparison of two learning modes. The slightly better learning results in hands-on mode are not significant. To get statistically significant results, more data collection is necessary. KEYWORDS Hands-on experiment, simulated experiment, student experiment, battery experiment, comparing learning-modes
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Virtual and remote labs have been around for almost twenty years and while they have been constantly gaining popularity since their appearance, there are still many people in the control education community who either do not know many details about them or do not know them at all. What are their benefits? Which examples of virtual and remote labs for control education can be found in the Internet and how spread and popular are they? What are the current trends and issues in the implementation and deployment of these tools? And the future ones? These and others are some of the questions we answer in this paper, trying to bring the attention of the control education community to these tools which, we believe, are meant to have an increasing importance and relevance for the 21st century students.
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