A4 Article in conference proceedings
Distance Learning with Hands-on Exercises : Physical Device vs. Simulator (2022)

Myllymäki, M., & Hakala, I. (2022). Distance Learning with Hands-on Exercises : Physical Device vs. Simulator. In FIE 2022 : Proceedings of the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference. IEEE. Conference proceedings : Frontiers in Education Conference. https://doi.org/10.1109/fie56618.2022.9962747

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsMyllymäki, Mikko; Hakala, Ismo

Parent publicationFIE 2022 : Proceedings of the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference


  • Frontiers in Education Conference

Place and date of conferenceUppsala, Sweden8.-11.10.2022



Journal or seriesConference proceedings : Frontiers in Education Conference



Publication year2022

Publication date08/10/2022


Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/85530


This Research to Practice Full Paper presents a comparison between a physical device and a simulator in a distance learning context. Programming embedded devices is very commonly taught using embedded hardware. One of the most used solutions is the Arduino microcontroller platform, which allows small embedded applications to be built and commanded in a programming language. However, there are some challenges in using physical devices for educational purposes. These challenges are particularly acute in distance learning or when the course needs to be scalable to a varying number of students. To address these challenges, we explored the potential of a simulator as a replacement for a physical device. We implemented the course using both the physical device and the simulator and collected student and lecturer feedback and experiences. The results showed that the physical device is somewhat more concrete and motivating, but the simulator is also very well suited for the purpose. The technical solution did not seem to have an impact on course completion or workload. There are also some advantages of using a simulator over a physical device, such as the possibility to test electronic connections without fear of breaking down the equipment.

Keywordsprogrammingubiquitous computingmicrocontrollersdistance teachingtrainingsimulation trainingonline courses

Free keywordstraining; computer aided instruction; embedded systems; costs; microcontrollers; scalability; hardware

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-30-04 at 20:06