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The learning effects of computer simulations in science education

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Computers & Education Volume 58, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article reviews the (quasi)experimental research of the past decade on the learning effects of computer simulations in science education. The focus is on two questions: how use of computer simulations can enhance traditional education, and how computer simulations are best used in order to improve learning processes and outcomes. We report on studies that investigated computer simulations as a replacement of or enhancement to traditional instruction. In particular, we consider the effects of variations in how information is visualized, how instructional support is provided, and how computer simulations are embedded within the lesson scenario. The reviewed literature provides robust evidence that computer simulations can enhance traditional instruction, especially as far as laboratory activities are concerned. However, in most of this research the use of computer simulations has been approached without consideration of the possible impact of teacher support, the lesson scenario, and the computer simulation’s place within the curriculum.


Rutten, N., van Joolingen, W.R. & van der Veen, J.T. (2012). The learning effects of computer simulations in science education. Computers & Education, 58(1), 136-153. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved March 18, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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