Assessing the Impact of Virtualizing Physical Labs

Evgenia Paxinou
Hellenic Open University, Greece

Vasilis Zafeiropoulos
Hellenic Open University, Greece

Athanasios Sypsas
Hellenic Open University, Greece

Chairi Kiourt
Hellenic Open University, Greece

Dimitris Kalles
Hellenic Open University, Greece


Virtual laboratories are the new online educational trend for communicating to students practical skills of science. In this paper we report on a comparison of techniques for familiarizing distance learning students with a 3D virtual biology laboratory, in order to prepare them for their microscopy experiment in their physical wet lab. Initial training for these students was provided at a distance, via Skype. Their progress was assessed through Pre and Post-tests and compared to those of students who opted to only prepare for their wet lab using the conventional face-to-face educational method, which was provided for all students. Our results provide preliminary answers to questions such as whether the incorporation of a virtual lab in the educational process will improve the quality of distance learning education and whether a virtual lab can be a valuable educational supplement to students enrolled in laboratory courses on Biology.

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