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Expository Versus Simulated Laboratory in Teaching Professional Courses

PN Bartholomew, JA Oyedepo, JA Yusuf

Abstract


In Nigeria Polytechnics, demonstrating theories through practical and laboratory experiments is an important approach to teaching, especially in engineering curricula. Often, lack of interest, resources and logistics problems makes this impossible. Evidence suggests that the expository laboratory, as used in engineering courses today, has lost its instructional value, while emerging technologies such as simulations can serve as robust replacements and teaching aid. Recently, several attempts to find an alternative to in-laboratory experiments have been proposed from many researchers. This paper, presents the application of both methods of laboratories experiments, using two electronic experiments, to implement and validate results. Finally, the results revealed significant conformity with theories for the simulated groups. The simulated laboratories were also perceived to be more open-ended, easier to use, easier to generate usable data, and require less time to complete than expository laboratories. The results suggest that the simulated laboratory can serve as a legitimate teaching aid, ‘a bridge’, and an integrated part of an engineering course or alternative to the expository, “hands-on” laboratory where facilities are not available. It also request that teaching methodologies should also be modified to guide students towards acquiring basic knowledge such as ICT tools, which are very necessary in the study and work world of today.


Keywords: Simulated Laboratories, Expository Laboratories, Frequency Response, Gain, Electronics, Experiments.


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