With educational technology going through a paradigm shift of worldwide acceptance, both leadership and academia in the education sector are moving towards incorporating virtual lab options with real-time guidance and feedback. While virtual labs aren’t a completely new phenomenon and have been around for quite some time, the access to more advanced virtual learning environments (VLE) and industry-grade equipment have given a whole new meaning to this concept in an educational context.
Virtual labs today offer students new and more exciting immersive learning experiences, leading to better engagement and higher knowledge retention. In this blog, we talk more about virtual labs and how they are transforming education by offering an immersive learning experience to students.
What are Virtual Labs?
A virtual lab is primarily a virtual or remote learning environment built to develop learners’ skills to perform experiments in a laboratory. It is an important learning tool that allows students to conduct their experiments remotely at their own pace and convenience.
Unlike the physical lab environment, virtual labs take into account several different pedagogical techniques proven to facilitate a better understanding of theoretical information, including active learning, visuals-based learning, gamification, and storytelling.
Apart from this, these virtual labs give students access to a realistic lab experience similar to a physical lab setting to be able to perform experiments and practice their skills in an engaging, interactive, and safe learning environment.
How Do Virtual Labs Foster Immersive Experiences for Learners?
Integrating virtual or online labs in education comes with a range of benefits for learners. Some of these include:
Customized, Immersive Experience
Unlike the traditional physical lab setup, virtual labs offer students a personal immersive learning experience.
What this means is that every student will have an individual experience that will be unique and characterized by their own learning curve. This helps them enjoy a more engaging learning experience where they get to learn the laboratory setup and experiment with a personal touch.
Furthermore, these labs also offer the perfect synchronization required between explaining theoretical ideas and their practical applications.
Better student safety is one of the key highlights of virtual labs. Students can explore and work on various kinds of experiments in these virtual labs without having to worry about the risk of either injuring themselves or damaging lab equipment.
They also enjoy the liberty to test and compare multiple scenarios, followed by determining the most effective one without having to do it in real life.
Since virtual labs are designed using the latest technology, they help protect students from various dangers associated with conducting risky laboratory experiments.
Virtual labs offer today’s learners easy access to futuristic, new technology to help them learn and experiment faster. There is a range of tools such as virtual microscopes and simulations that learners can use to offer futuristic solutions.
With the wide range of updated equipment, virtual labs also help instructors have more engaging lab sessions and capture learners’ attention.
Flexibility in the Learning Process
Yet another benefit of virtual labs is the flexibility they offer to learners. They allow students to conduct their lab experiments whenever and wherever they want as per their convenience.
Since almost all virtual labs are either accessible through the internet or available on the cloud, they offer learners easy and convenient access to the platform as and when they want.
Besides, students also have the flexibility to access the virtual laboratory on any device of their choice from any location, making them an integral element of virtual, contactless learning.
One of the constant struggles that both learners and students face while conducting experiments in a physical lab setup is to maintain continuous learner engagement.
Virtual labs address this challenge by allowing instructors to hold students’ attention through innovative methods where they enjoy more freedom to test experiments and procedures in an easy and convenient virtual setup.
Further, virtual labs also let learners and instructors reap the advantages of enhanced communication by displaying the results of student experiments and research in real-time.
Ease of Use
Virtual labs are gaining a lot of popularity as an immersive means of learning for students because they are very convenient and allow them to recreate or redo experiments comfortably.
Students, in this case, can explore and analyze their mistakes, find out what went wrong, and try the experiment again.
Further, keeping track of communication between students and teachers in virtual labs becomes more efficient as all the experiment results are recorded.
When compared to traditional physical laboratories, virtual or online labs are relatively less expensive.
For instance, a school or institution requires a single lab platform for conducting experiments for all students saving a great deal of money, resources, and effort.
Virtual labs are a great way to push students to use critical thinking since they are the ones who need to make all the decisions.
Further, learning how and when to act in an immersive simulation or virtual lab setup can help students in the future when they are required to make a decision in real-life scenarios, which eventually leads to better and more effective learning in the long run.
The shift to the virtual learning environment trend marks the beginning of an evolving virtual education future, a part of the instruction model and blended learning that is here to stay.
However, what is also needed is an emphasis on promoting learning and collaborating in virtual environments in a way that fortifies students with the relevant skills required for the careers they will embark on in the future.
At KITABOO, we enable fully immersive learning experiences for learners across age groups with well-designed virtual labs and simulations that enable them to innovatively explore new concepts, empower their imagination and let them retain knowledge as well. To know more, please write to us at KITABOO@hurix.com
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