The purpose of this study was to compare the changes in conceptual understanding of Direct Current Electricity (DCE) in virtual (VLE) and real laboratory environment (RLE) among pre-service elementary school teachers. A pre- and post- test experimental design was used with two different groups. One of the groups was randomly assigned to VLE (n = 42) and the other to RLE (n = 38). Participants in the VLE group used computer simulations to perform the given tasks, whereas those in the RLE group used real laboratory apparatus. Before the treatment, all the students administered the Direct Electric Circuits Concepts Test (DIRECT). Pre-test analyses show that there was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of understanding DCE. After completing three week physics by inquiry based treatment, the DIRECT was readministered as a post-test. Results showed that both groups showed the same effects on acquisition of scientific concepts.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.