Empirical Analysis of the Use of the VISIR Remote Lab in Teaching Analog Electronics


Remote laboratories give students the opportunity of experimenting in STEM by using the Internet to control and measure an experimental setting. Remote laboratories are increasingly used in the classroom to complement, or substitute for, hands-on laboratories, so it is important to know its learning value. While many authors approach this question through qualitative analyses, this paper reports a replicated quantitative study that evaluates the teaching performance of one of these resources, the virtual instrument systems in reality (VISIR) remote laboratory. VISIR, described here, is the most popular remote laboratory for basic analog electronics. This paper hypothesizes that use of a remote laboratory has a positive effect on students' learning process. This report analyzes the effect of the use of VISIR in five different groups of students from two different academic years (2013-2014 and 2014-2015), with three teachers and at two educational levels. The empirical experience focuses on Ohm's Law. The results obtained are reported using a pretest and post-test design. The tests were carefully designed and analyzed, and their reliability and validity were assessed. The analysis of knowledge test question results shows that the post-test scores are higher that the pretest. The difference is significant according to Wilcoxon test (p < 0.001), and produces a Cohen effect size of 1.0. The VISIR remote laboratory's positive effect on students' learning processes indicates that remote laboratories can produce a positive effect in students' learning if an appropriate activity is used.