Blueprint to design virtual experiment environments

Verstege, S.V.; Vincken, J.P.; Diederen, J.


Laboratory education plays an indispensable role in university level natural science curricula. To achieve all intended learning outcomes of laboratory education, students should be carefully prepared before they enter the laboratory. This can be done by means of non-traditional labs, and more specifically, virtual experiment environments (VEEs). Although VEEs are increasingly being used in higher education, there is a lack of studies that provide actionable guidelines on how to design such VEEs. The goal of this study was to provide general design requirements, design principles, and a design architecture that can be used as a blueprint to design VEEs. To achieve our goal, we used an educational design research approach to design four VEEs, which have been evaluated in real educational contexts. Besides establishing three general design requirements, Fourteen corresponding design principles, and a design architecture based on the insights gathered during the educational design research process, we also included detailed information on how they can be applied. Such information in the context of VEEs is new to literature, and has the potential to help teachers and instructional designers to design high quality VEEs