An online interactive demonstration of processes and systems which allows learners to practise in a controlled and safe environment
Simulation in which learners carry out a routine vehicle inspection.
|Source||On your Guard - Security Operations Toolbox, Lead agent West Coast College of TAFE|
|Use||Certificate II in Security Operations|
|Delivery||Can be delivered via a CD or web. Can be incorporated into a Learning Management system such as WebCT, Janison or Blackboard.|
|Customisation||This resouce has been designed to allow for customisation of tasks, content, images and interactions.|
|Availability||Details of how to purchase this Toolbox are available on the Flexible Learning Toolbox site|
NurseryLive! is a time-based simulation of the daily operations of a wholesale production nursery.
|Source||NurseryLive!, developed by Holmesglen TAFE|
|Use||RUHHRT303A - Maintain nursery plants
RUHHRT317A - Control pests and diseases
RUHHRT353A - Select chemicals and biological agents
|Delivery||This simulation can be used in conjunction with other online resources such as the Horticulture Toolboxes|
|Customisation||This is a complex simulation and is not designed to be modified.|
|Availability||Details of how to install this simulation are available on Australian Flexible Learning Framework site listed above.|
A large collection of interactive java applets for use in physics.
|Source||University of Oregon Department of Physics website|
|Availability||Publically available website|
Why include virtual laboratories?
- creates situations where learner can practise skills in a controlled and safe environment
- unlike online demonstrations, virtual laboratories ask learners to interact in some way with the task by inserting information, making decisions and executing steps
- provides opportunities for learners to revisit tasks.
Integrating virtual laboratories
Often virtual laboratories are available on the web. As developing your own will be costly, both in time and money, you should search for examples which may be able to be used in your teaching program.
- Clearly define the steps in a process using a storyboarding process.
- Design the visual look and feel of the interactive.
- Decide on what happens if the learner gives incorrect input.
- Decide on feedback to the learner.
- Integrate the virtual demonstration into the complete learning design.
Observation of learners undertaking a virtual exercise may form part of a formative assessment. It is likely that within the VET system final assessment will involve applying the skills learnt in the virtual laboratory to real life tasks.
Using virtual laboratories engage learners in developing technology skills.
Often online virtual laboratory exercises will require the end user to have plug-ins (Flash, Shockwave, audio and video) installed on their computers. Increasingly these plug ins are standard on computer systems but you need to make sure that your learners can download any software that is required to make the exercise run.
Virtual Worlds enable trainers to engage learners in an experiential environment that can take on a variety of dimensions depending on the context of the training delivery. In aVirtual World learners can experiment, plan, solve problems, negotiate, collaborate, evaluate, learn from mistakes and take risks, while acquiring a wide range of life and employability skills.
There are a variety of software packages available specifically to develop simulations. See the Resources section.
The development of multimedia demonstrations generally requires higher level development skills. It is often easier for the teacher to access existing demonstrations and incorporate these into their teaching and learning design. Try LORN for learning objects that include a virtual laboratory component.Back to top
From the Framework
More resources from the Australian Flexible Learning Framework
- Virtual Worlds – Real Learning
The New Practices in Flexible Learning 2006 Virtual Worlds – Real Learning! project was designed to capitalise on the willingness of learners to engage with virtual worlds, by using a range of pedagogical activities to move learners from playing to an enhanced learning experience.
Tools and resources
- CaptureCAM- Pro
CaptureCAM-PRO is an exceptionally easy-to-use full motion, PC Screen and sound recording program
Adobe Flash is a popular application for creating multimedia activities integrating video, text, audio, and graphics into interactive demonstrations. It creates small files that are readily downloaded. The majority of current web users, (greater than 97%), have the ability to view Flash via the free Flash player.
The Flash authoring tool requires very specific skills and often requires a dedicated multimedia developer to create effective interactive exercises. For this reason, creating and customising Flash activities may be outside the scope of many teaching practitioners who will need to storyboard their ideas and then commission the development.
Multimedia tool for building rich, interactive content and applications for CDs, DVDs, kiosks, and the internet.
- Further Samples
Stockwatch – manage a virtual fishery
- Learning Designs – Concept/Procedure Development Focus
Explores a range of exemplars that have used virtual laboratory type delivery methods.