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Welcome to Virtual Labs by
MERLOT, SkillsCommons, and Partners!

Science faculty throughout the world are adopting virtual labs to engage students in learning through active participation rather than passive observation. Technological advances, combined with bandwidth maturity and mobile access make virtual labs an increasingly viable part of the teaching and learning.

We invite you through this site to learn about current and innovative virtual labs technologies, lab experiments, and simulations used in teaching the science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines in higher education.

OLC Ideate Labs for Online STEM: Innovating STEM Education
image of hand on a computer keyboard and various symbols representing science ideas.

The Online Learning Consortium and MERLOT conducted Ideate Labs for Online STEM: Innovating STEM Education 2020 on August 19-21, 2020.  This free virtual expo showcased a wide range of virtual and distance labs designed to support online STEM education, offered by both commercial and open educational resource (OER) providers. This event brought educators and providers together, not only offering expert guidance on how best to deploy the different types of virtual labs to achieve successful learning outcomes, but also in centering educator use-case virtual lab stories. 

Explore Recordings


What You'll Find Here

  1. The use of leading edge Virtual labs in the teaching and learning process.
  2. A "one-stop-shop" for a growing collection of free and fee-based virtual labs.
  3. Advice with links to a wide range of additional Science, Engineering, and Math resources and materials on Virtual Labs.
    • Exciting teaching experience using virtual labs
    • Innovative lab protocols and simulations
    • Exemplary Practices in CSU virtual labs
    • MERLOT Services


Featured Project
Virtual Labs for GE Biology

General education biology laboratory courses are facility and labor intensive and often have low student success. This project addresses these concerns through the implementation of online labs to engage students in the scientific method, reduce the demand for laboratory facilities, and decrease costs, addressing both facility and pedagogical bottleneck.

Project Report (pdf) | ePortfolio

Sharing Strategies
student using virtual reality goggles

Explore how faculty adopted Virtual Labs in their classes. Faculty authored their teaching ePortfolios for virtual labs projects and recorded their reflections on the redesign of their lab courses.

Explore Teaching ePortfolios

Case Study Articles
Featured Articles

Designing and Implementing Virtual Courseware to Promote Inquiry-based Learning
Robert A. Desharnais`, California State University, Los Angeles CA
Melvin Lipman, American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD

The Biology Labs On-Line Project: Producing Educational Simulations That Promote Active Learning
Jeffrey Bell, California State University

Article on Strategies for Success Teaching with Virtual Labs:
Learning by Doing with Biology Labs Online
Robert A. Desharnais`, California State University, Los Angeles CA

For some students, virtual labs replace hands-on science experiments...
LA Times