A Review of Virtual Laboratory and Justification for Adoption in Nigeria Tertiary Educational Institutions

Ise Anderson Orobor, Helen Elohor Orobor


Physical laboratory (PL) is widely considered to be essential to learning and teaching science and engineering related courses. However, developing countries including Nigeria have struggled to provide quality training to students in the above fields due to inadequate laboratory facilities. The need to finding and adopting viable alternatives has become necessary. This paper proposed the adoption of virtual laboratory (VL) as a standard e-learning tool to complement the inadequacies of PL in Nigeria tertiary educational institutions. The paper reviewed several successful application of VL, comparison between VL and PL were made and suggestions on some justifications for adoption outlined. It concluded that, just like the digital libraries is complementing University physical libraries, VL could also be adopted to complement PL used in teaching and learning science and engineering courses whether on face-to-face or Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. The great potential that lies in VL offers the possibility of it being an alternative/ replacement of PL in most science and engineering disciplines in future, especially for those experiments learner decisions or actions are not based on tactile or olfactory sensory cues.

Full Text:



C. Pearson and C. Kudzai “Virtual Laboratory: A Solution for Tertiary Science Education in Botswana?” European Journal of Logistics, Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, vol.3, no.3, pp.12-24, 2015.

J. Roschelle, K. Jona, and P. Schank (2017) CIRCL Primer: Remote Labs. In CIRCL Primer Series. Available: http://circlcenter.org/remote-labs. Accessed: 1 October, 2019.

R. Dak, S. Khoje, and P. Pardeshi “A Review on Cost-efficient Virtual Laboratory: A Teaching Aid” in proc. IEEE 2017 International Conference on Computing Methodologies and Communication (ICCMC), 2017, pp.663-667

S. Seiler, D. Ptasik and R. Sell, “Remote And Virtual Labs In A Distance Learning Environment”, in proc. 22nd International Daaam Symposium, vol 22, no 1, Vienna, Nov. 2011.

H. Truong, T. Pham, N. Thoai and S. Dustdar (Feb 2012) Cloud Computing for Education and Research in Developing Countries [Online]. Available: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/feb0/2b55a5922eb39625bd3e65358ab6bb7ca5f2.pdf

M. D. Redel-Macías., S. Pinzi, A. J. Cubero-Atienza, M. P. Dorado, M. P. Martínez-Jiménez “Biorefinery Virtual Lab-Integrating E-learning Techniques and Theoretical Learning,” in conf. International Joint Conference CISIS’12-ICEUTE´12-SOCO´12, Heidelberg, 2013, vol 189, pp 321-330.

G. D. Peterson and L. D. Feisel, “e-Learning: The Challenge for Engineering Education”, in conf. ECI Conference on e-Technologies in Engineering Education: Learning Outcomes Providing Future Possibilities, Davos, Aug. 2002.

ABET- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (2015, October) Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs Effective for Reviews, [Online]. Available: http://www.abet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/E001-16-17-EAC-Criteria-10-20-15.pdf

J. Moscinski, (2008) “E-learning platforms and quality of engineering education”, in proc. International Conference on Engineering Education (ICEE).

H. Anis (2011) E-Learning in Engineering Education – General Challenges and the Egyptian Experience [Online]. Available: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4727/a1f1566daa9061217574b559a9e54a1f3d99.pdf.

A. A. Oloyede, H. A. Ajimotokan and N. Faruk, “Embracing the Future of Engineering Education in Nigeria: Teaching and Learning Challenges,” Nigerian Journal of Technology (NIJOTECH), vol. 36, no. 4, Oct. 2017, pp. 991-1001.

C. Chan and W. Fok, “Evaluating learning experiences in virtual laboratory training through student perceptions: a case study in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong,” Engineering Education, vol. 4, no. 2, 2009, pp. 70-75.

Labster (2019, October) About the Introductory Lab Virtual Lab Simulation [Online]. Available: https://www.labster.com/simulations/introductory-lab/

Stanford University (2019) Remote Labs [Online]. Available: https://teachingcommons.stanford.edu/resources/learning/learning-activities/remote-labs

J. M. Ferreira1, E. Sousa1, A. Nafalski, J. Machotka, Z. Nedic (2010) Collaborative learning based on a micro-webserver remote test controller [Online]. Available: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/143398589.pdf

S. B. Issenberg, M. S. Gordon, D. L. Gordon, R.E. Safford and I. R. Hart, “Simulation and new learning technologies,” Med Teach., vol. 23, no. 1, Jan. 2001, pp. 16-23.

J. Banks, J. Carson, B. Nelson, and D. Nicol, Discrete-Event System Simulation. Prentice Hall, 2001, p. 3.

Patil (2019) Simulation Laboratory [Online]. Available: http://www.dypatil.edu/simulation_lab/

UVM - University of Vermont Medical (2019) Clinical Simulation Laboratory [Online]. Available: http://www.med.uvm.edu/simlab/home

iLab (2019) Radioactivity iLab [Online]. Available: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/cyb11.pd.cyber.ilab/radioactivity-ilab/

PhETLab (2019) Interactive Simulations For Science And Math [Online]. Available: https://phet.colorado.edu/

MERLOT (2019) Simulation Collection [Online]. Available: https://www.merlot.org/merlot/materials.htm

ChemCollective (2019) Resources to Teach and Learn Chemistry [Online]. Available: http://chemcollective.org/home

MHRD (2019), Virtual Lab. An Initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development under the National Mission on Education through ICT [Online]. Available: http://Www.Vlab.Co.In

Next-Lab (2019) Next-Lab Project [Online]. Available: https://nextlab.golabz.eu/

ESA- European Space Agency (2019) Ocean Virtual Laboratory [Online]. Available: https://eo4society.esa.int/projects/ocean-virtual-laboratory/

Amrita (2010) Mechanical Engineering Virtual Labs [Online]. Available: https://www.amrita.edu/research/project/mechanical-engineering-virtual-labs

UTS (2019) Remote Laboratory [Online]. Available: https://www.uts.edu.au/about/faculty-engineering-and-information-technology/what-we-do/facilities-and-location/remote.

T. Cengiz, “The Effect of the Virtual Laboratory on Students’ Achievement and Attitude in Chemistry” International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 37-53, 2010.

R. Radhamani, H. Sasidharakurup, G. Sujatha, B. Nair, K. Achuthan, and S. Diwakar, “Virtual Labs Improve Student's Performance in a Classroom”, in proc. 1st International Conference on E-Learning E-Education and Online Trading, Maryland, 2014, pp. 138-146.

M. T. Bonde, G. Makransky, J. Wandall, M. V. Larsen, M. Morsing, H. Jarmer and O. A. Sommer, “Improving biotech education through gamified laboratory simulations”, Nature-Biotechnology, vol. 32, no. 7, pp. 694-697, 2014.

G. A. Maldarelli, E. M. Hartmann, P. J. Cummings, R. D. Horner, K. M. Obom, R. Shingles and R. S. Pearlman, “Virtual Lab Demonstrations Improve Students’ Mastery of Basic Biology Laboratory Techniques”, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, May 2009, p. 51-57.

C. V. Nnaka,”Science Education through Open and Distance Learning at National Open University of Nigeria”. IASET: International Journal of Library & Educational Science, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-8, 2016.

L. O. Flowers, “Investigating the Effectiveness of Virtual Laboratories in an Undergraduate Biology Course,” The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 110-116, Dec. 2011.

O.J. Nsikan, I. A. Anayo, and E. O. Ekpeyong (2017) Engineering Education and Development in Nigeria Beyond 2020 [Online]. Available: http://www.globalacademicgroup.com/journals/academic%20excellence%20/Nsikan%20Okon.pdf

I. A. Orobor and E. H. Orobor, “Cost-Saving and Internally Generated Revenue in Tertiary Educational Institutions: The Role of Cloud Computing,” International Journal of Education and Information Technology, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 7-16, Apr.2018.

Reimagine (2018) How virtual labs are revolutionizing science education [Online]. Available: https://www.reimagine-education.com/28-virtual-labs-revolutionizing-science-education/

NUC- National Universities Commission (2019) Approved Programmes of Distance Learning Centers [Online]. Available: http://nuc.edu.ng/distance-learning-centers/

T.E. Owoyemi and A.M. Akinsete, “Learning science at a distance: National Open University of Nigeria Students’ Perception of Practical Work in Learning Science”, in proc. EpiSTEME 5, India, 2012, pp. 364-368.

T. Budai and M. Kuczmann, “Towards a Modern, Integrated Virtual Laboratory System”, Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 191-204, 2018.

E. N. Onwuka, “Reshaping engineering education curriculum to accommodate the current needs of Nigeria”. Educational Research and Review, vol. 4, no. 7, pp. 334-339, 2009.

PCAST (2012) Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates With Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [Online]. Available at: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Engage%20to%20Excel%20Producing%20One%20Million%20Additional%20College%20Graduates%20With%20Degrees%20in%20STEM%20Feburary%202012.pdf

P. Ari-Gur, P. Ikonomov, R. Rabiej, P. Thannhauser, M. Hassan, D. M. Litynski, R. Schwartz, R. (2013, June), Transforming Undergraduate Engineering Education with 3D Virtual Reality Laboratory Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22654


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Abava  Absolutech Fruct 2020

ISSN: 2307-8162