Use of virtual labs for enhance student's procedimental ability.
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This article presents some results of a study investigating the use of the simulator VLAB, developed by Carnegie Mellon University, to increase the capacity of graduate students in Chemistry in the preparation of experimental procedures. The activity was conducted in two stages, first the students were asked a manuscript describing in detail the procedure and equipment used in the technique of dissolution and delivering it to the teacher. Later in the computer lab, each student performed the same procedure using the simulator. The activity has been proposed to determine if there could be accuracy gains of the description of the process when performed by the simulator. One of the main positive aspects obtained using the simulator students was the recognition of error, important in that the great majority recognized omitted or confused any process step. This reflection showed the students that in addition to testing a procedure using the simulator facilitates the organization of thought and helps arrange it logically. With the use of simulators, students are encouraged to take risks, to explore, to experience a new way, and a real lab usually offers much less room for risk, exploitation and failure.