Getting real: the authenticity of remote labs and simulations for science learning

Megan Sauter, David H. Uttal, David N. Rapp, Michael Downing, Kemi Jona*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Teachers use remote labs and simulations to augment or even replace hands-on science learning. We compared undergraduate students' experiences with a remote lab and a simulation to investigate beliefs about and learning from the interactions. Although learning occurred in both groups, students were more deeply engaged while performing the remote lab. Remote lab users felt and behaved as though they completed a real scientific experiment. We also examined whether realistic visualizations improved the psychological and learning experiences for each lab. Students who watched live video of the device collecting their data in the remote lab felt most engaged with the task, suggesting that it is the combination of the realistic lab and realistic video that was of the greatest benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalDistance Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Web-based learning
  • cognition
  • remote lab
  • science learning
  • simulation
  • video

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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