Using Virtual Laboratory Environment for Science Education in Different Educational Settings

Athanasios Sypsas
Hellenic Open University

Evgenia Paxinou
Hellenic Open University

Dimitris Kalles
Hellenic Open University


Although hands-on laboratory experiments have been traditionally used in education, virtual laboratories have become popular in science courses due to their specific features. In this study, we asked for the students’ opinion on using a 3D desktop-based virtual reality biology lab in two different educational settings, upper secondary education (Lyceum) and University. Our findings indicate that both Lyceum and University students found the use of the virtual laboratory interesting, when learning and practicing on the use of an optical microscope. According to the students’ answers in a specially designed Likert-style questionnaire, this virtual reality-based learning experience was rather satisfactory, helped them easily understand the new topic of microscopy and filled them with confidence regarding their capability to conduct the specific microscopy experiment in a real biology lab. These results, combined with similar findings from other studies, suggest that virtual environments are viewed favourably by students and could be used supplementary to traditional teaching methods applied in hands-on laboratories in different educational settings.

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