Abstract—The extended periods of absence from physical laboratories due to school closures in COVID- 19 pandemic has shortened the contact hours required to develop essential practical skills. This research investigates the perceived effectiveness of upper secondary teachers on virtual labs due to this circumstance. The research participants are subject-matter physics specialists who have been teaching upper secondary students in both learning environments, physical and online. The instruments used in this research are survey, an open-ended questionnaire, and a semi-structured interview protocol. The findings of this research postulated that teaching physics practical skills using virtual laboratories has its limitations, however, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged teachers to explore opportunities that are more effective in teaching physics practical skills. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of teaching physics practical skills using virtual laboratories is confined by the inability to provide students with a similar experience to the traditional labs. Despite its limitations, teaching physics practical skills using virtual laboratories is effective in supporting students through memorizing and comprehending practical skills. The research also revealed that teaching physics practical skills using virtual laboratories is an effective method of encouraging students to apply their existing knowledge and comprehension to unfamiliar situations and draw connections to analyze the physics phenomena.
Index Terms—Practical skills development, traditional and non-traditional laboratories, scientific investigation.
Jasmine Jain is with the School of Education, Taylor’s University, Malaysia (e-mail: jasmine.jain@ taylors.edu.my).
Manmeet Kaur is with HELP International School, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).