Comparison of inquiry-based instruction in real and virtual laboratory environments: Prospective science teachers’ attitudes



This research aimed to compare how prospective science teachers’ attitudes towards chemistry laboratory and chemistry lesson changed after participation in inquiry-based instructions that were conducted in real and virtual laboratories. Thirty-four freshman prospective science teachers from an education faculty participated in the research and participants were assigned as Group-1 (N=17) and Group-2 (N=17). While Group-1 was accomplished inquiry-based instruction in the real laboratory, Group-2 was conducted the same instruction in the virtual laboratory. As a data source, attitude towards chemistry lesson scale and attitude towards chemistry laboratory scale were used. The semi-constructed interview was also conducted with all participants. According to results, although all the prospective science teachers’ attitudes toward chemistry lesson and laboratory improved significantly in both real and virtual laboratory environments, improvement in the prospective science teachers’ scores in a real laboratory environment significantly higher than those in the virtual laboratory. In addition to these, semi-structured interview results cohered with the results of the scales.



Abubakar, H. & Salmanu, Y. (2018). Impact of Internet Technology Usage on Job Performance of Senior Secondary School Teachers in Kaduna State Nigeria. International Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 10(2), 152-167.

Author (2008).

Author (2013).

Akben, N. (2011). Development of scientific inquiry-based laboratory activities for prospective teachers. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Gazi University, Institute of Educational Science.

Alfieri, L., Brooks, P. J., Aldrich, N. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 1–18.

Berg, C. A. R., Bergendahl, V. C. B., Lundberg, B., & Tibell, L. (2003). Benefiting from an open-ended experiment? A comparison of attitudes to, and outcomes of, an expository versus an open-inquiry version of the same experiment. International Journal of Science Education, 25(3), 351-372.

Bilek, M., & Skalická, P. (2010). Combination of real and virtual environment in early chemistry experimental activities. Proceedings of XIV IOSTE Symposium, Slovenia.

Bilgin, I. (2009). The effects of guided inquiry instruction incorporating a cooperative learning approach on university students’ achievement of acid and bases concepts and attitude toward guided inquiry instruction. Scientific Research and Essay, 4(10), 1038-1046.

Blessinger, P., & Carfora, J. M. (2014). Innovative approaches in teaching and learning: An introduction to inquiry-based learning for the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In P. Blessinger & J. M.

Carfora (eds.) Inquiry-based learning for the arts, humanities, and social sciences: a conceptual and practical resource for educators (p. 3-25). United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Bozkurt, O. (2015). Investigating the effect of inquiry-based learning on pre-service teachers’ attitudes and opinions about the approach. Croatian Journal of Education: Hrvatski časopis za odgojiobrazovanje, 17(4), 175-197.

Chase, A., Pakhira, D., & Stains, M. (2013). Implementing process-oriented, guided-inquiry learning for the first time: Adaptations and short-term impacts on students’ attitude and performance. Journal of Chemical Education, 90(4), 409-416.

Cheung, D. (2008). Facilitating chemistry teachers to implement inquiry-based laboratory work. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 6(1), 107-130.

Chiappetta, E., L., & Adams, A., D. (2004). Inquiry-based instruction. The Science Teacher, 71(2), 46–50.

Chiu, J. L., & Linn, M. C. (2014). Supporting knowledge integration in chemistry with a visualization-enhanced inquiry unit. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 23(1), 37-58.

Colburn, A. (2000). An inquiry primer. Science Scope, 23(6), 42-44.

DiBiase, W., & McDonald, J. R. (2015). Science teacher attitudes toward inquiry-based teaching and learning. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 88(2), 29-38.

Donnelly, D. F., McGarr, O., & O'Reilly, J. (2014). ‘Just be quiet and listen to exactly what he's saying': Conceptualising power relations in inquiry-oriented classrooms. International Journal of Science Education, 36(12), 2029-2054.

Hensen, C., Barbera, J. (2019). Assessing affective differences between a virtual general chemistry experiment and a similar hands-on experiment. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(10), 2097−2108. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.9b00561

Hofstein, A., & Lunetta, V. N. (2004). The laboratory in science education: Foundations for the twenty‐first century. Science Education, 88(1), 28-54.

Hofstein, A., & Mamlok-Naaman, R. (2007). The laboratory in science education: the state of the art. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 8(2), 105-107.

Hofstein, A., & Mamlok-Naaman, R. (2011). High-school students’ attitudes toward and interest in learning chemistry. Educación Química, 22, 90-102.

Hofstein, A., Shore, R., & Kipnis, M. (2004). Providing high school chemistry students with opportunities to develop learning skills in an inquiry-type laboratory: a case study. International Journal of Science Education, 26(1), 47-62.

Honey, M. A., & Hilton, M. (2011). Learning science through computer games and simulations. Committee on science learning: computer games, simulations, and education. Washington D. C.: The National Academies Press.

Kidman, G., & Casinader, N. (2017). Inquiry-based teaching and learning across Disciplines. United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillian.

Mercer-Chalmers, J., D., Goodfellow C., L., & Price, G., J. (2004). Using a VLE to enhance a foundation chemistry laboratory module. CAL-Laborate, 12, 14-18.

National Research Council (NRC). (2000). Inquiry and national science educational standards. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Osborne, J., Simon, S., & Collins, S. (2003). Attitudes towards science: A review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049-1079.

Pallant, J. (2015). SPSS Survival manual, a step by step a guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows, 6th Edn. England: McGraw-Hill Education.

Pyatt, K., & Sims, R. (2012). Virtual and physical experimentation in inquiry-based science labs: Attitudes, performance and access. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 21(1), 133-147.

Ratamun, M. M., & Osman, K. (2018). The effectiveness comparison of virtual laboratory and physical laboratory in nurturing students’ attitude towards chemistry. Creative Education, 9, 1411-1425.

Shapley, K., Sheehan, D., Maloney, C., & Caranikas-Walker, F. (2011). Effects of technology immersion on middle school students’ learning opportunities and achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 104(5), 299-315.

Shegog, R., Lazarus, M. M., Murray, N. G., Diamond, P. M., Sessions, N., & Zsigmond, E. (2012). Virtual transgenics: Using a molecular biology simulation to impact student academic achievement and attitudes. Research in Science Education, 42(5), 875-890.

Silm, G., Tiitsaar, K., Pedaste, M., Zacharia, Z. C., & Papaevripidou, M. (2017). Teachers' readiness to use inquiry-based learning: An investigation of teachers' sense of efficacy and attitudes toward inquiry-based learning. Science Education International, 28(4), 315-325.

Singer, S. R., Hilton, M. L., & Schweingruber, H. A. (2006). America's lab report: investigations in high school science. Committee on high school science laboratories: role and vision. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press.

Stevens, J. (1996). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences,3rd Edn. Mahwah, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Taitelbaum, D., Mamlok‐Naaman, R., Carmeli, M., & Hofstein, A. (2008). Evidence for teachers’ change while participating in a continuous Professional development programme and implementing the inquiry approach in the chemistry laboratory. International Journal of Science Education, 30(5), 593-617.

Tarhan, L. (2008). Development of a material supported with active learning methods based on constructivism to prevent formation and remediation of misconceptions in the subject of acids and bases in the level of high school and university. Project of TUBITAK, project number: TUB-105K058.

Timmermans, F., & Geerdink, G. (2016). Fostering student teachers’ inquiring attitude. In P. Boyd & A. Szplit (Eds.) Teachers Learning Through Inquiry: International Perspectives (p.147-162), Poland: Wydawnictwo Attyka.

Tuysuz, C. (2010). The effect of the virtual laboratory on students’ achievement and attitude in chemistry. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 2(1), 37-53.

Widowati, A., Nurohman, S., & Anjarsari, P. (2017). Developing science learning material with authentic inquiry learning approach to improve problem solving and scientific attitude. Jurnal Pendidikan IPA Indonesia, 6(1).32-40

Winkelmann, K., Keeney-Kennicutt, W., Fowler, D., & Macik, M. (2017). Development, implementation, and assessment of general chemistry lab experiments performed in the virtual world of second life. Journal of Chemical Education, 94(7), 849-858.

Wolf, S. J., & Fraser, B. J. (2008). Learning environment, attitudes and achievement among middle-school science students using inquiry-based laboratory activities. Research in Science Education, 38(3), 321-341.

Yang, K. Y. & Heh, J. S. (2007). The impact of internet virtual physics laboratory instruction on the achievement in physics, science process skills and computer attitudes of 10th grade students. Journal of Science Education and Technology,16, 451–461.