Friday, September 10, 2010

Require Mastery of LabSim Labs to Ensure Learning

There are many ways to incorporate LabSim training into an IT course you teach. Some instructors assign certain sections of LabSim to match their own lesson schedule, while others assign the whole LabSim course from start to finish. Some instructors use LabSim as the sole curriculum, and others use LabSim as part of a combination of teaching tools.

Even though instructors utilize LabSim in different ways, there is one requirement I hear from almost every instructor I talk to:

Require mastery (100%) of each LabSim lab before students can move on to the next LabSim module.

Instructors emphasize the importance of students gaining mastery of each concept they learn and task they complete in LabSim. Below are comments from five different IT instructors who require their students to complete each LabSim lab with 100%:

“When students miss a question in a quiz or exam, or perform a lab incorrectly, LabSim points them to the sections in the course where they can learn the material they don’t understand. They have to do remedial learning until they can pass the lab with 100%.”

“Repeating the videos and labs until content is mastered is a good thing because repetition helps solidify concepts in students’ minds. Hearing and doing it again reinforce learning. A lot of my students play video games. I tell them, have you ever played a game so many times you can close your eyes and play it in your sleep? It needs to be that way with IT concepts, and LabSim lets you practice until you’re at that point.”

“I look for mastery. I don’t give a final grade on a LabSim lab until students have mastered it with a score of 100%. Students have assigned timeframes to complete LabSim sections, and within each timeframe, they can repeat the sections as many times as it takes to master the concepts.”

“LabSim is 50% of students’ final grade. All they have to do is print off the LabSim report at the end of class showing 100% on everything.”

“Students can repeat videos, labs, and readings as many times as necessary to master the concepts, but I don’t give any credit until their score is 100%.”

Instructors, what successes have you seen by requiring your students to achieve mastery in every lab? Leave your comment or email

Emily Howard, TestOut

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