|Ph.D Student||Dallashe Sameer|
|Subject||Educational Activity in a Medical Simulation-Based Learning|
Environment: Characteristics and Learning Outcomes
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Tali Tal|
The integration of out-of-school learning environments in science and technology school learning is of special importance. It is increasing as part of the educators’ and science education researchers’ efforts to inspire students’ interest in science. This integration is likely to enrich the diversity of students’ learning environments, educational activity and meaningful experiences. Furthermore, the combination of formal and informal environments helps make school science relevant. The research environment investigated was the Medical Simulation Unit in the Technoda Science Center in Givat Olga, Israel. This environment is based on students’ experiential learning, provides them with a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity, through activities that combine hands-on experience and the use of the most advanced medical simulators that “react like humans”.
The study was carried out with 375 high school (10th grade) students: Jewish (178 participants) and Arab (197 participants).
The research aim was to examine the characteristics of the medical simulation-based environment, to reveal the various learning outcomes and study its unique influence on 10th-grade students. This influence was examined from the cognitive and affective aspects related to changes in attitude towards science, biology and medicine, understanding the key scientific ideas of the 10th grade study unit called “the human body” and of the principle of “healthy lifestyle”. Furthermore, differences between genders and the two ethnicities were examined in relation to the different aspects of influence.
Comparative research included two research groups, an experimental group (206 participants) and a comparison group (169 participants). Only the experimental group students took part in three visits to the simulation unit.
This research employed the mixed method approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods. Data sources included semi-structured interviews; questionnaires containing open-ended questions; paired pre-post semantic differential questionnaires and content-based open-ended questionnaires.
The findings show that the learning environment enables mainly collaborative hands-on learning that helps the students demonstrate scientific ideas. In a manner similar to museums and other out-of-school learning environments, the medical simulation-based environment allows a range of learning outcomes. The main findings attest to significant improvement in the participants’ attitudes, mainly towards biology but also in understanding biological ideas relevant to the human body. Furthermore, the influence of the visits was found to be greater among the Arab participants compared to their Jewish counterparts. This finding reinforces the need to provide minority students with more hands-on experience in informal learning environments, contrary to the common situation in their schools.
The study is likely to enrich the professional literature in Israel and worldwide regarding out-of-school learning, by focusing on a unique learning environment. The comparison between Jewish and Arab students is likely to contribute to a greater understanding of cultural differences in an out-of-school learning context and promote out-of-school learning in the Arab school system and among minority groups in general.