A Web-based Heat Exchanger Virtual Laboratory for Enhancing Physical Laboratory Experience of Engineering Students

S.K. Chaturvedi (USA)


Simulation, Visualization, Virtual labs, Active learning


This paper summarizes the development, implementation and assessment of a web-based virtual experiment in the thermo-fluids laboratory of the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum. The virtual heat exchanger laboratory module was used by students for web-based pre-lab practice sessions before students performed the physical experiment in the laboratory. A “control” group consisting of students who did not use the virtual experiment and an “experimental” group consisting of students who used the virtual experiment to supplement physical experimentation were used to quantify students learning gain. Student’s performance in an identical quiz administered to both groups showed that use of the virtual pre-lab practice session enhanced the average quiz score of “experimental” group by about 56% over the “control” group. A statistical analysis of assessment data indicated that gain in average quiz score is statistically significant (p≤0.05). Results indicate that the pedagogy of supplementing physical experiments with web-based virtual pre-lab practice session does enhance students understanding of laboratory procedure and data acquisition.

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