The Effectiveness of Hands-On Modules in Learning Science

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Abstract

The main aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness of two novel learning modules, namely the Arts & Stability Card and Magnobolt modules, on the understanding of relevant concepts of stability and electromagnetism, respectively, among Malaysian secondary school students. The modules were developed based on the Malaysian Secondary School curriculum for science subjects that promote hands-on activities in the classrooms. A quasi-experimental method was used that involved two control and two experimental groups. Students in experimental groups used the novel learning modules, whereas those in the control group used the conventional learning materials. For the evaluation of the Arts & Stability Cards module, forty-eight and fifty students were assigned to the control and experimental groups, respectively. For the evaluation of the Magnobolt module, seventy-nine and seventy-eight students were assigned to the control and experimental groups, respectively. A series of t-tests were performed to determine if there were any significant differences between students’ learning performances before and after the learning treatments. The analysis revealed that those in the experimental groups outperformed those in the control groups, strongly suggesting that hands-on activities afforded by such learning modules would help students to learn complex, abstract scientific concepts more efficaciously. Premised on these findings, it is therefore vital for teachers to improve the current pedagogy by integrating hands-on activities into the teaching and learning process with the use of such learning modules.