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Real-time Microcomputer-based Lab (MBL) experiments allow students to “see” and, at least in kinematics exercises, “feel” the connection between a physical event and its graphical representation. This article describes a study in which kinesthetic feedback was completely removed by only giving students visual replications of a motion situation. Graph production was synchronized with motion re-animation so that students still saw a moving object and its kinematics graph simultaneously. Results indicate that this technique did not have a substantial educational advantage over traditional instruction. Immediate student control of the physical event and its graphical representation might be what makes MBL effective and, in the case of kinematics laboratories, kinesthetic feedback could be the most important component of the MBL learning experience. Further studies are needed in order to clarify this point.
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