The effects of biology lab delivery mode on academic achievement in college biology




McQueen, Jaime Ann


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Many researchers have investigated the comparative effects of virtual lab and physical lab environments with mixed results that can be explained by the variability of lab features. Therefore, there is a need for better understanding of the affordances of instructor presence and learner control in virtual lab environments as compared to physical lab environments. Guided by a framework of instructor presence and learner control, this mixed methods study investigated the effects that the affordances of instructor presence and learner control have on laboratory-based learning across four different treatments in an undergraduate biology course for non-majors during the fall 2016 semester. The quantitative phase of the study tested the hypothesis that there were statistically significant differences in student achievement, as measured by immediate and delayed recall post-test scores, across four different modes of biology lab treatments. The second phase of this study sought to more deeply understand quantitative findings by qualitatively exploring how non-majors college biology students described their experiences of instructor presence and learner control of pace and repetition in each of the four lab treatments. Findings will inform institutions of higher learning, curriculum publishers, and those interested in the utility of virtual laboratories.


A Dissertation Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas.


distance education, interactive learning environments, online learning, simulations, teaching / learning strategies, virtual reality



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