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Effects of Simulation on STEM Learning: Meta-Analytic Evidence From Randomized Controlled Experiments

Mon, April 12, 11:10am to 12:40pm EDT (11:10am to 12:40pm EDT), Division C, Division C - Section 3b: Technology-Based Environments Paper and Symposium Sessions


The global pandemic of 2020 has revealed the imperative need for effective online learning technologies. As interactive digital learning environments that mimic a real-world process or scenario, simulations have been increasingly used in education. The purpose of the present meta-analysis is to quantify the effects of simulations on learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Results from 26 randomized controlled experiments indicated that (1) students who used simulation performed better than students without a lab, g = 0.68, (2) simulation is as effective and potentially more effective than a physical lab, g = 0.30, and (3) simulation boosts learning interest and enjoyment, g = 0.59. These findings support the use of simulation to enhance STEM learning outcomes.