Progressive education and robotics: a behavioural evaluation of learning with robots and simulators

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Zurba, Michael
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This study was designed to determine if the use of virtual simulation software is beneficial to students while they learn to build and program robots. Twelve student participants ranging from Grades 9-12 were randomly placed within three treatment groups: One group was given access to LEGO EV3 robots, one group was given individual access to a virtual simulator of the EV3, and one group was given simultaneous access to both the robots and the simulators. To determine whether the treatment benefitted learning, a progressive view of assessment aligned with a sustainable approach to education was utilized. The assessment looked only at the learning behaviours of the participants, as opposed to the more traditional approach of testing for written outcomes, and determined if learning was passive, active, constructive, or interactive according the ICAP framework suggested by Chi & Wylie (2014). The results showed that higher-level learning behaviours were demonstrated by the treatment group that had simultaneous access to the physical robots and the virtual simulators, indicating that the group learned more as well as demonstrated behaviours that fostered increased collaboration and leadership within a group.
Education, Robotics, Simulators, Assessment, Sustainability