Technology has become an integral part of the classroom, and it has even begun to spread to the laboratory. Lab simulations may save on time, increase efficiency, and help students find expected results, but there are several disadvantages as well. Here are the main pros and cons of lab simulations.
- Cost efficient
Lab simulations can often be much cheaper than multiple sets of traditional lab equipment that must be modified for each lab.
- Time efficient
Similarly, simulations increase time efficiency by a large amount, removing the time it takes to setup and clean up. Simulations can also improve safety by removing risks of equipment malfunction during lab.
- Desired results can be easily achieved
Common issues with equipment will be avoided, and students will be more likely to gather the expected data for the experiment.
- Decreased importance of the scientific method
With a lab simulation, labs are conducted in a more step-by-step manner, rather than through observation, hypothesis, and experimentation. Students often miss out on all of the processes of scientific observation.
- Lack of tactical skills teaching
The fact that the program is already set up means that students will not have to learn how to create the experimental setup themselves. If, for example, the lab involves examining a neuron, students will not be able to see or experiment with nerve tissue, and they will not be learning the tactical skills necessary to examine this tissue.
- Not as realistic
Lab simulations simply aren’t as realistic as conducting a real experiment. Students can easily pick up on the fact that the data is stored, which can alter their learning experience.