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Diving into the particle model: Examining the affordances of a single user participatory simulation

, Department of Science Teaching, Israel ; , Department of Learning Instruction & Teacher Education, Israel

Computers & Education Volume 139, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


What does participating as an entity in a simulation of a complex system contribute to learning? We compare the learning gains of eighth-grade students in a U.S. public school who used a Single User Participatory Simulation (SUPS) with a comparison group who learned the same concepts using a conventional simulation. We find that the SUPS affords significantly larger learning gains and that it is no more likely than the conventional simulation to cause misconceptions. In addition, we find that users of the participatory simulation report significantly more interest and enjoyment than users of the conventional simulation. Additional qualitative analysis suggests that students perceive participatory simulations as more helpful because they enable a deeper interaction with the model and are more engaging than conventional simulations. Our findings contribute to ongoing research on the contribution of physical movement in reducing cognitive load. In addition it deepens the understanding of design features that enhance emotional engagement while using simulations, and the relation of emotional engagement to the learning gains of the users.


Langbeheim, E. & Levy, S.T. (2019). Diving into the particle model: Examining the affordances of a single user participatory simulation. Computers & Education, 139(1), 65-80. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved July 18, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on June 3, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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