Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Student Engagement with a Science Simulation:\ud Aspects that Matter

By Susan Rodrigues and Eugene Gvozdenko


It is argued that multimedia technology affords an opportunity to better visualise complex relationships often seen in chemistry. This paper describes the influence of chemistry simulation design facets on user progress through a simulation. Three versions of an acid-base titration simulation were randomly allocated to 36 volunteers to examine their interactions with the simulation. The impact of design alterations on the total number of interactions and their patterns was analysed for the following factors:(a) the place of a feature on the screen, (b) alignment of the sequence of instructions, (c) additional instruction before the simulation, (d) interactivity of a feature. Additionally, interactions between individual factors, such as age, prior experience with science simulations and computer games, perception of the difficulty of science simulations, and general subject knowledge, on one hand, and the efficiency of using the simulation, on the other hand, were examined. The findings suggest that: (a) centrality of the position of an element significantly affects the number of interactions with the element, (b) re-arranging the sequence of instructions on the screen in left-to-right order improves the following of instructions, (c) providing users with additional written advice to follow numbered instructions does not have a significant impact on student behaviour, (d) interactivity of a feature was found to have a strong positive correlation with the number of interactions with that feature, which warrants a caution about unnecessary interactivity that may hinder simulation efficiency. Surprisingly, neither prior knowledge of chemistry nor the age of the participants had a significant effect on either the number of interactions or the ability to follow on-screen instructions

Topics: X200
Publisher: Univerza v Ljubljani
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2008). A Model of Motivation for Virtual-Worlds Avatars. In doi
  2. (2008). A multidimensional approach to determinants of computer use in primary education: teacher and school characteristics. doi
  3. (2010). Achieving multiple literacy in Science Education: A Classroom Teacher’s Perspective. In doi
  4. (2005). Children and young people’s home use of ICT for educational purposes: The impact on attainment at key stages 1-4. (Research report RR672). Nottingham: Department for Education and Skills.
  5. (1991). Cognitive Load Theory and the Format of Instruction. doi
  6. (2010). Considering test takers navigation patterns in a Maths test design. Presentation at SMART project meeting.
  7. (2003). Construction and interference in learning from multiple representations. doi
  8. (2006). Does the modality principle hold for different media? A test of the methodsaffects-learning hypothesis. doi
  9. (2003). E-Learning and the science of instruction. Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning. doi
  10. (2002). Email use in elementary school: An analysis of exchange patterns and content. doi
  11. (2007). Fostering multimedia learning of science: Exploring the role of an animated agent’s image. doi
  12. (1999). Kids and media at the new millennium: Executive summary. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation.
  13. (2006). Mind and its evolution; A dual coding theoretical interpretation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
  14. (2005). Mobile information access: A study of emerging search behavior on the mobile Internet. doi
  15. (2008). Mobile learning in developing countries: Present realities and future possibilities. In
  16. (1988). Narrative knowing and the human sciences. doi
  17. (2008). Office for National Statistics. doi
  18. (1999). Print: Design & new media. Fragmented future.
  19. (2010). Questioning 42 student engagement with a science simulation: aspects that matter Chemistry: The role of level, familiarity, language and taxonomy.
  20. (2008). Re-evaluating a model of learning design. doi
  21. (2004). Reasoning with atomic-scale molecular dynamic models. doi
  22. (2009). Research into teaching with whole class interactive technologies,
  23. (2004). Revisiting pedagogical content knowledge: The pedagogy of content/the content of pedagogy. doi
  24. (1991). Simulations: An opportunity we are missing.
  25. (2003). Social cues in multimedia learning: Role of speaker’s voice. doi
  26. (2010). Students’ reading images in kinematics: The case of real-time graphs. doi
  27. (2008). Successful and less successful use of dynamic visualizations.
  28. (1987). The effect of real-time laboratory graphing on learning graphic representations of distance and velocity. doi
  29. (1990). The effect of simultaneous motion presentation and graph generation in a kinematics lab. doi
  30. (2004). The influence of metacognitive skills on learners’ memory of information in a hypermedia environment. doi
  31. (2004). The Seven Games of Highly Effective People: How playing computer games helps you succeed in school, work and life. Retrieved from
  32. (1992). The split-attention effect as a factor in the design of instruction. doi
  33. (2004). Using hypermedia as a metacognitive tool for enhancing student learning? The role of self-regulated learning. doi
  34. (2010). Using multimedia learning aids from the Internet for teaching chemistry – Not as easy as it seems? doi
  35. (2010). Virtual Worlds for Science Learning. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.