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Prelaboratory Technique-Based Simulations: Exploring Student Perceptions of Their Impact on In-Class Ability, Preparedness, and Emotional State
Teaching laboratories are a highly complex environment that require students to master the following: technical skills, application of theory, safe working conditions, and teamwork. Often, students have had very little prior experience to prepare them for this alien and pressured environment. Prelaboratory tasks are typically considered key to mitigating this issue, with simulations being developed to help students prepare for class and also to help improve their technical abilities. Building on a prior initial study, this contribution evaluates student perceptions toward dynamic laboratory simulations as part of their freshman chemistry course. Our data shows that the majority of students found the simulations to have a positive impact on their learning experience, especially during the enforced online learning experiences that resulted from COVID-19. Students were generally found to be less anxious and more excited to attend the laboratories, and they frequently utilized their experiences with the simulations during the in-laboratory class time.