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This study investigated the effects of two instructional strategies (augmented activation activities versus expository instruction) and three different presentation formats: microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL), simulation, and computer-based text on individuals' ability to understand concepts in physics. Three hundred and thirty subjects were assigned to one of six treatment groups defined by the crossing of instructional strategy and presentation format. A 2*3 factorial design was used to analyze the data. Analysis of variance indicated a significant main effect for presentation format. Follow-up tests further indicated that both the MBL and the simulation presentation formats were more effective than computer-based text and that simulations were equally as effective as MBLs. These findings confirmed the results of previous research by providing strong support for the use of MBLs and simulations and extend the results of previous research by indicating that simulations are just as effective as MBLs. This latter finding has many positive implications for educators given that computer-based simulations are generally easier to implement in a classroom setting.
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