Understanding interactions in face-to-face and remote undergraduate science laboratories: a literature review

Jianye Wei, David F. Treagust, Mauro Mocerino, Anthony D. Lucey, Marjan G. Zadnik, Euan Lindsay

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This paper reviews the ways in which interactions have been studied, and the findings of such studies, in science education in both face-to-face and remote laboratories. Guided by a systematic selection process, 27 directly relevant articles were analysed based on three categories: the instruments used for measuring interactions, the research findings on student interactions, and the theoretical frameworks used in the studies of student interactions. In face-to-face laboratories, instruments for measuring interactions and the characterisation of the nature of interactions were prominent. For remote laboratories, the analysis of direct interactions was found to be lacking. Instead, studies of remote laboratories were mainly concerned with their practical scope. In addition, it is found that only a limited number of theoretical frameworks have been developed and applied in the research design. Existent theories are summarised and possible theoretical frameworks that may be implemented in studies of interactions in undergraduate laboratories are proposed. Finally, future directions for research on the inter-relationship between student interactions and laboratory learning are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalDisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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