To support science education, more than 350 student labs have been established throughout Germany in the last decades. The goal of these out-of-school facilities is to foster the students’ scientific literacy and promote interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by providing the students with the opportunity to conduct experiments. Primarily, they are located at universities, other research facilities, or in companies. The present study investigates whether an experimental workshop dealing with DNA in the context of a lab-on-tour model can yield the same motivational outcome in terms of situational interest and flow experience as the same workshop held at a school. 110 high school students participated in the workshop at the authentic biotechnology laboratory teutolab-biotechnologie at Bielefeld University; 177 high school students participated in the workshop, with the same equipment and the same tutors in their biology classrooms at school. The results of (M)ANOVA showed no differences between the groups with respect to the students’ perception of the motivational variables (situational interest and flow experience).
In addition, the study investigated the influence of personality traits: Individual interest was found to have an impact on situational interest and flow experience. In contrast, gender and a student’s biology grade were not found to influence these motivational variables.
In conclusion, an experimental workshop designed for a student lab can be provided as a lab-on-tour model with the same motivational outcome. The professional and technical expertise of specialists in lab work can be used as a valuable support for the educational system.