Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Authentic Student Laboratory Classes in Science Education

Version 1 : Received: 16 November 2018 / Approved: 19 November 2018 / Online: 19 November 2018 (07:53:12 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 26 November 2018 / Approved: 27 November 2018 / Online: 27 November 2018 (05:20:40 CET)

How to cite: Schulte, J. Authentic Student Laboratory Classes in Science Education. Preprints 2018, 2018110431. Schulte, J. Authentic Student Laboratory Classes in Science Education. Preprints 2018, 2018110431.


The traditional hands-on nature in science laboratory classes creates a sense of immediacy and a presence of authenticity in such learning experiences. The handling of physical objects in a laboratory class, and the immediate responses provided by these experiments, are certainly real-live observations, yet may be far from instilling an authentic learning experience in students. This paper explores the presence of authenticity in hands-on laboratory classes in introductory science laboratories. With our own laboratory program as a backdrop we introduce four general types of hands-on laboratory experiences and assign degrees of authenticity according the processes and student engagement associated with them. We present a newly developed type of hands-on experiment which takes a somewhat different view of the concept of hands-on in a laboratory class. A proxemics-based study of teacher-student interactions in the hands-on laboratory classes presents us with some insights into the design of the different types of laboratory classes and the pedagogical presumptions we made. A step-by-step guide on how to embed industry engagement in the curriculum and the design of an authentic laboratory program is presented to highlight some minimum requirement for the sustainability of such program and pitfalls to avoid.


authentic learning; work integrated learning; curriculum development; laboratory classes; proxemics


Social Sciences, Education

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