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Interactive-engagement vs. cookbook laboratory procedures in MBL mechanics exercises

Brent Ronald Royuk, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


In recent years, much work has been done to investigate physics teaching techniques that facilitate conceptual learning in mechanics. This study compared the effectiveness of microcomputer-based laboratory procedures that were written in a traditional “cookbook” style to interactive-engagement procedures that covered the same material with the same experimental apparatus for equal times. ^ Two lab sections in an introductory trig-based physics course at a small private college participated in different lab exercises for nine weeks. One section completed nine chapters of the interactive-engagement lab curriculum, RealTime Physics. The other participated in cookbook labs that were written for this study to cover the same material. Gain in conceptual mechanics understanding was measured with a pre-instruction/post-instruction administration of the Force Concept Inventory. Both groups completed the conceptual homework included in the RealTime Physics exercises. This procedure was repeated in a second nine-week phase, in which neither group was assigned the homework. ^ Average normalized gains for the interactive-engagement and cookbook groups were h = 0.471 and h = 0.392, respectively. In the second phase (without the homework), they were h = 0.480 and h = 0.334. In the second phase, the normalized gain for the interactive-engagement group was 0.568 s.d. higher than the cookbook group (N = 27, p = 0.076). ^ For the interactive-engagement groups in the two phases, the homework did not make a difference in FCI gains. The pooled average normalized gain for these two groups was equal to h = 0.476 (N = 27), which is comparable to the average gain measured for the interactive-engagement groups in Hake's large data set in 1998. ^ Small differences in satisfaction and perceived effectiveness were measured between the interactive-engagement and cookbook groups. These differences generally favored the cookbook labs. ^

Subject Area

Education, Technology of|Education, Sciences

Recommended Citation

Royuk, Brent Ronald, "Interactive-engagement vs. cookbook laboratory procedures in MBL mechanics exercises" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3041361.