Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 2825–2855 | Cite as

Augmented reflective learning and knowledge retention perceived among students in classrooms involving virtual laboratories

  • Krishnashree Achuthan
  • Saneesh P. Francis
  • Shyam Diwakar


Learning theories converge on the principles of reflective learning processes and perceive them as fundamental to effective learning. Traditional laboratory education in science and engineering often happens in highly resource-constrained environments that compromise some of the learning objectives. This paper focuses on characterizing three learning attributes associated with reflective learning i.e. metacognition (M), analogical reasoning (A) and transfer of knowledge (T) and assessed college laboratory education blended with ICT-enabled virtual laboratories. Key contributions of this study include: 1) Development of assessment of MAT attributes using a combination of multiple choice questions, True/False statements and descriptive questions 2) assessment of conceptual learning occurring in the laboratory environment and of learning attributes using Virtual Laboratories (VLs) in classroom education. Feedback data indicated using virtual laboratories in classrooms for training students before using physical laboratories demonstrated a significant improvement (>100% change) in learning in comparison to physical laboratories without VLs. We also show using VLs as pre-lab or post-lab exercise augmented reflective learning and information retention among 145 students in this blended learning case study, compared to an independent control group of 45 students who had no virtual laboratory training.


Blended learning Virtual laboratories ICT Assessment Classroom education Retention of learning 



Our work derives direction and ideas from the Chancellor of Amrita University, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. The authors would like to acknowledge the work of the entire CREATE team and the VALUE team for contribution and support for developing virtual labs. This work was supported by the Sakshat project of National Mission on Education through ICT, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Department, Government of India. SD was supported with Young Research Faculty Fellowship under Sir Visvesvaraya PhD scheme, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amrita Center for Cybersecurity Systems & NetworksAmrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University)KollamIndia
  2. 2.Amrita School of BiotechnologyAmrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University)KollamIndia

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