India’s recent strides in information technology have propelled the growth of web-based digital learning in most disciplines of science and engineering education. Distance education and open learning endeavours offer many advantages in resource-limited developing countries, where the number of potential learners is much higher than the number of experienced teachers or advanced educational institutes1.
However, these endeavours alone have proved insufficient in providing practical skills for science experiments or analysis of scientific data. Virtual laboratories, which act as free, round-the-clock replicas of actual laboratories, could be an effective alternative. Learners in a virtual laboratory can understand scientific theories and also experience practical experimental procedures2,3. As educational budgets in developing and under-developed countries continue to shrink, e-learning and open-learning programmes are gaining popularity4.
Sandipan Ray, Dr. Shyam Diwakar, S. Srivastava, and Dr. Bipin G. Nair, “E-learning resources and virtual labs”, Nature India Special Issue, pp. 13-14., 2015.