A physics laboratory course designed using problem-based learning for prospective physics teachers
In general, laboratories are exercises with a primary focus on the verification of established laws and principles, or on the discovery of objectively knowable facts. In laboratories, students gather data without comprehending the meaning of their actions. The cognitive demand of laboratory tasks is reduced to a minimal level. To prevent these deficiencies, activities in a physics laboratory course were redesigned using problem-based learning. Problem-based learning is an inquiry based instructional design in which experiential learning organized around the investigation, explanation, and resolution of meaningful problems. In activities, instructional strategy is student-centered and learning has to occur in small student groups under the guidance of a tutor. Authentic real world problems are primarily encountered in the learning sequence. To solve the problems, students propose hypothesis, and test their hypothesis with suitable experiment designs. Laboratory design and instruction strategies are very suitable for performing science process skills.