The Complete Guide to Virtual Labs

An introduction to virtual labs and the Labster Learning Platform.
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Expand lab accessibility with immersive virtual lab environments


Virtual Labs have burst open the possibilities of what science educators can offer students, while addressing some of the steepest challenges in academia today. In a time when classrooms are strained by tight budgets, disengaged students, and widening knowledge gaps, virtual labs are being widely adopted to help train, motivate, and inspire the next generation of scientists. This guide outlines everything you need to know about the growing role of virtual labs in modern pedagogy.

What Are Virtual Labs?

Virtual labs are interactive science simulations that students complete online, from their personal devices. Each lab places students in real world scenarios, where they must apply their knowledge to solve real world problems.

Watch to learn about virtual labs and the rest of Labster's learning platform.

Virtual Labs are used for teaching theory and lab techniques, whether students are learning the critical steps to a lab procedure, or traveling to the quantum realm to visualize chemistry like never before.

Critical features include:

  • 300+ Simulations: Diversify your course with immersive virtual experiences for chemistry, biology, and physics.
  • Embedded Quizzes: Empower students to test themselves, and try labs as many times as they need to master their subject matter. Review student scores.
  • Teacher Dashboard: Track student progress, and identify where students are struggling.
  • Lab Manuals: Leverage trusted lab manuals as a guide for coursework.
  • Supplemental Resources: In addition to simulations, Labster educators get access to an expansive library of explainer videos, theory pages, graphics and more.

Why Educators Use Virtual Labs.

Virtual Labs are emerging as a powerful tool for academic institutions looking to elevate their science programs.

Watch and discover how Labster helped Professor Margaret Brady accelerate learning in her Anatomy & Physiology course.

  1. Retain and inspire students: Virtual labs provide engaging experiences that bring science to life. Simulations make science fun, while helping students place themselves in the shoes of real scientists.
  2. Enhance accessibility: Virtual labs provide students access to state-of-the-art experiences that they can engage with anywhere, any time, and at their own pace.
  3. Control lab costs: Virtual labs help programs expand opportunities for students to experience lab environments and field work that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.
  4. Accelerate Learning: Virtual labs help students visualize abstract science theory, and practice techniques as many times as they need to master coursework.
  5. Reduce burnout: Education has suffered greatly in recent years from disengaged students and overworked educators. Virtual Labs provide the structure and motivation to expand what students can achieve at home, so that educators can maximize time together in class.
  6. Saving time: Virtual labs reduce time wasted in the lab by bolstering pre-lab training, while also lightening the burden of lectures for content best introduced in an immersive experience.

How Educators Use Virtual Labs.

As virtual labs transform the classroom, educators are discovering new possibilities to reinforce their pedagogy.

Watch and discover how Biotech Teacher Diane Sigales deploys a hybrid learning strategy with virtual labs.

  1. Training lab techniques: Virtual labs help educators drill lab procedures year-round, so that students can prepare for the real thing, and review techniques long after lab work is completed.
  2. Introducing new units: New topics place a heavy burden on lectures, as they struggle to engage students with no prior context. Virtual Labs frame science in a fun, visual, real-world scenario. Help students more easily relate to new ideas, so that they come to lecture excited and full of questions.
  3. Working through complex material in-person: Virtual labs provide a framework for collaborative learning. Educators can lead classrooms through virtual labs, coaching students as they hit roadblocks, and dealing with questions on the spot.
  4. Assessing student progress: Virtual labs help educators track lab completion, so that they easily identify where students need help, and target their teaching.

Technical Requirements.

Labster is designed to be easy to implement and easy to use.

What do my students need to use Labster?

Students can get started right away once they have their login information. Labster is a web-based software that requires no downloads or installs.

Integrate with your LMS


Labster integrates with LMSs (Learning Management Systems, called VLS in some regions) so that educators can post assignments directly to their already existing courses, and so that grades manually sync to the gradebook. Labster is compatible with Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Google Classroom, Schoology, Sakai, and Brightspace / D2L. It’s also possible to use Labster without an LMS.

Find technical guides on LMS integration:

How to Implement Labster.

Labster is available at the course, institution, and district level.

  • Step 1: Schedule your free consultation or demo
  • Step 2: Start a free trial to assign simulations in your course, department, or institution.
  • Step 3: Find a plan that is right for you

Ready to rethink your STEM program?

Talk to an expert to discover if virtual labs are right for you.

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