Student laboratory skills and knowledge improved through individual lab participation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Electrical Engineering


The traditional laboratory team based teaching paradigm did not as effectively inculcate basic laboratory skills and knowledge as did solo lab participation. In a fundamental electrical engineering laboratory course, the acquired knowledge and skills of students who performed laboratory experiments individually throughout the semester were contrasted with those who performed the lab exercises in traditional two member teams. The students' performance on the final laboratory practicum exam provided an effective and verifiable objective metric with sufficient specificity to differentiate between the dual and solo participation lab groups. Students who performed their laboratory exercises individually during the semester showed noticeable improvement in the their ability to apply rudimentary laboratory skills and knowledge to basic circuits analysis applications in their final lab practicum scores. The study was performed over three consecutive semesters with 96 students sub-divided into a control and study group. Students in the control group performed the weekly laboratory exercises in lab teams of two or more while students in the study group worked independently. The study group exhibited statistically significant higher scores on the final lab practicum as compared to the control group. An extensive verification analysis was performed to investigate additional inter-group factors which may have contributed to the observed inter-group differences in student performance on the final laboratory practicum exam. The only factor that significantly and independently contributed to the students' laboratory skills and knowledge base proved to be the student level of participation in the laboratory exercises. The results of this study indicated that students must be fully engaged in the fundamental laboratory exercises to thoroughly and properly learn and retain the skills and knowledge required for application to basic circuit analysis. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2010.

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings


© 2010 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.