Teaching experimental methodology in a virtual laboratory

Heineken, E.
Schulte, F. P.
Ollesch, H.
Gerhard Mercator University,

The training in experimental methodology is a main topic in teaching psychology. With the objective to experience the logic of experimental research, students are asked to conduct experiments in a experimental laboratory by taking the following steps:

  • create hypotheses
  • choose and implement experimental treatments
  • assign participants according to experimental design principles
  • write appropriate instructions
  • register experimental data
  • analyze data by means of both descriptive and inferential statistics
  • integrate experimental results in theoretical contexts
  • write reports
  • present findings

This kind of training is very expensive; especially costs for rooms and equipment are high. The concept of the virtual experimental laboratory Lab.OR is presented as an economic alternative. This web-based laboratory is designed as a learning-environment which facilitates students to take the same steps in experimental research as in a classic lab. Furthermore, Lab.OR offers all features of an interface for online-research. The technical bases are presented, experiences in using Lab.OR are reported, possibilities and limits of using virtual labs in teaching experimental psychology are discussed.