Using computer network simulation programs: exploration of students’ attitude, motivaton and learning

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2015

Thesis Language: English

Student: Halil Güllü



The purpose of this study was to explore students’ attitude, motivation and learning in introductory networking courses where a simulation program was used. Basic qualitative research method was utilized to seek answers to the research question. Data was collected by individual interviews, conducted to 12 undergraduate and 5 graduate students from two different computer network courses on introductory networking concepts where a simulation program was utilized. The interview data was transcribed and analyzed trough formative content analysis to find out the themes and categories. Analysis of data culminated five main themes with categories. Two of the five themes were related to student attitudes; (1) goal setting: information age qualities, professional development and problem solving skills, (2) learner internal factors: curiosity and interest. Other two themes were related to student motivation; (3) Self-confidence: visuality and manuals and (4) locus of control: chance to practice and trial and errors. The last theme was related to learning; (5) deep understanding: providing concreteness, learning by applying and visuality. The result of the study showed that participants were commonly driven by their needs and interests so as to become competent in computer networks and find a job to secure their future. In addition, the simulation programs increased students’ motivation and self-confidence in the two classes investigated and helped them learn topics easier and better. The results also indicated that the used simulations were considered quite affordable technology in network course to convey abstract concepts to the students.