Virtual labs are interactive, digital simulations of activities that typically take place in physical laboratory settings. Virtual labs simulate the tools, equipment, tests, and procedures used in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, and other disciplines. Virtual labs allow students to participate in lab-based learning exercises without the costs and limitations of a physical lab. Virtual labs can be an important element in institutional efforts to expand access to lab-based courses to more and different groups of students, as well as efforts to establish contingency plans for natural disasters or other interruptions of campus activities.
The 7 Things You Should Know About… series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) provides concise information on emerging learning technologies. Each brief focuses on a single technology and describes what it is, where it is going, and why it matters to teaching and learning. Use these briefs for a no-jargon, quick overview of a topic and share them with time-pressed colleagues.