Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

2011 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings


1-15 (22.1296)

Conference Name

2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 26-29


This paper presents results from a National Science Foundation grant titled "Simulation and Visualization Enhanced Engineering Education", funded by the EEC division. Although the scope of the project is quite broad, embracing a wide range of courses in three engineering disciplines, the present work describes the results obtained from application of simulation and visualization for development and implementation of web-based virtual engineering laboratories. The present work leverages the advancement in hardware and software technologies to map physical experiments into web-based virtual experiments that can be used to enrich student's laboratory experience. Four physical experiments in the thermo-fluids laboratory course have been mapped into virtual experiments, and the newly created virtual experiments have been used by students to conduct pre-lab practice sessions prior to performing corresponding physical experiment sessions. By performing virtual experiments, students learn in more detail about the objectives, procedure and expected outcomes ahead of scheduled physical experiments. Use of virtual experiments in the supplementation mode makes students better learners, and the assessment results show that students are better prepared and get more out of physical laboratory sessions. To test the efficacy of the proposed pre-lab practice session pedagogy, assessment instruments and statistical experimental designs have been developed and implemented to objectively determine whether implemented virtual experiments, used in supplementation mode, enhance student learning compared to the pre-implementation setting (without virtual experiments) and to test if the learning gains are statistically significant or not. The pedagogy of supplementation of physical experiments with pre-lab practice sessions with virtual experiments shows promise, based on results obtained in this project. Impact of various demographic factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, student level etc. on student learning was also analyzed.


© 2011 American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 26-29, 2011.

Original Publication Citation

Chaturvedi, S. K., & Dharwadkar, K. A. (2011). Simulation and visualization enhanced engineering education - development and implementation of virtual experiments in a laboratory course. Paper presented at the 2011 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, British Columbia.