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Effectiveness of Simulation versus Hands-on Labs: A Case Study for Teaching an Electronics Course

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Hands-on Active Learning

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.582.1 - 26.582.21



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Paper Authors


Mohammed Taqiuddin Taher DeVry University, Addison

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Dr. Mohammed T. Taher is a senior professor of Network and Communication Management in the College of Engineering and Information Science at DeVry University, Addison, Illinois. Professor Taher’s area of specialization is Computer Networks.

Dr. Taher received his M.S in Computer Science with major in Networking from Northeastern University, Chicago and his Doctorate in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University.

Dr. Taher has more than 30 years of academic experience. He taught courses in Engineering, Computer Science, and Networking. Presently he is teaching courses in Cisco, Microsoft, UNIX, Data Communications, and Emerging Technologies.

Dr. Taher began his career as a Project Engineer for Zenith Data Systems Company. He worked at Benton Harbor Plant in Michigan for 2 years.

Professor Taher is a member of IEEE and ASEE.

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Ahmed S. Khan DeVry University, Addison Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Ahmed S. Khan is a Senior Professor in the College of Engineering and Information Sciences at DeVry University, Addison, Illinois. Dr. Khan has more than thirty-two years of experience in research, instruction, curricula design and development, program evaluation and accreditation, management and supervision.

Dr. Khan received an MSEE from Michigan Technological University, an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, and his Ph.D. from Colorado State University. His research interests are in the areas of Nanotechnology, Fiber Optic Communications, Faculty Development, and Social and Ethical Implications of Technology. He is the author of many educational papers and presentations. He has authored/coauthored the following books:

• Nanotechnology: Ethical and Social Implications (2012)
• Technology and Society: Issues for the 21st Century and Beyond 3E, (2008)
• The Telecommunications Fact Book and Illustrated Dictionary 2E (2006)
• Fiber Optic Communication: An Applied Approach, Prentice Hall, N.J. (2002)
• Technology and Society: A Bridge to the 21st Century (2002)
• Technology and Society: Crossroads to the 21st Century (1996)
• Technology and Society: A Spectrum of Issues for the 21st Century (1994)
• The Telecommunications Fact Book and Illustrated Dictionary (1992)

Dr. Khan is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE), and a member of American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE), and has been listed in Who’s Who among America’s Teachers. Dr. Khan also serves as a program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

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Comparison of Simulation-based and Hands-on Teaching Methodologies on Student Learning in an Engineering Technology Laboratory course AbstractThe use of Simulation-based labs has been gaining currency in the domains of engineering andtechnology programs. How effective is simulation-based teaching methodology in comparison totraditional hands-on activity based labs? To answer this question a study was conducted toexplore the impact of the use of computer simulation design methods on students’ learning forcircuit construction in an undergraduate technical course. A mixed method research design wasemployed to identify the presence or absence of learning patterns using qualitative andquantitative modes of data evaluation viz a viz cognitive apprenticeship instructionalmethodology.This paper presents the findings of the research study which tested the hypothesis tested byinvestigating three key questions: 1) Does the use of simulation improve students’ learningoutcomes? 2). How do faculty members perceive the use and effectiveness of simulation in thedelivery of technical course content? 3). How do students perceive the instructional designfeatures embedded in the simulation program such as exploration and scaffolding support inlearning new concepts? The paper also discusses the other aspects of findings which reveal that simulation by itself isnot very effective in promoting student learning. Simulation becomes effective only when it isfollowed by hands-on activity. Furthermore, the paper presents recommendations for improvingstudent learning, viz a viz simulation-based and hands-on labs.

Taher, M. T., & Khan, A. S. (2015, June), Effectiveness of Simulation versus Hands-on Labs: A Case Study for Teaching an Electronics Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23920

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015