Innovations for Educational Resilience: The Virtual Laboratory as Remedy for the Teaching and Conduct of Practical Work in Science Courses during Unexpected Occurrences

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // This paper focuses on the important role virtual laboratories could play in the teaching and learning of practical courses in sciences during unexpected occurrences such as that witnessed during the Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic of 2019. Covid-19 swept all over the world and its effect was quite important to the educational system. The whole world locked down and over 100 countries, which translate to over 90% of the world student’s population, had to shut down schools. Governments of most countries and Institutions of learning had to embrace Distance Learning (DL), a method of imparting knowledge, characterised by the separation of the teacher and learner in space and/or time and other forms of eLearning platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom, Canvas, Blackboard and Microsoft Teams as well as Google Hangouts, Cisco, WebEx and flipped classroom etc. for their populace. This was to forestall a total and imminent collapse of their educational systems. Science courses require hands on practical sessions which are of paramount importance for the understanding/internalisation of concepts and contents but this became impracticable due to the Covid-19 lockdown of schools. A remedy would be the usage of virtual laboratories, which are learning environments in which students convert their theoretical knowledge into practical knowledge by conducting experiments virtually by simulation of real laboratory environment and processes. Conclusively therefore, in the face of such emergencies, a practicable measure to be embraced by institutions, stakeholders in education and the government is the establishment of virtual laboratories, which could even become a permanent feature in the education sector post such emergency eras, especially in the developing countries of the world. // Paper ID 2974

Virtual Education,Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),Online Learning,Educational Technology,Distance Education