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A great number of educational institutions worldwide have had their activities partially or fully interrupted following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, universities have had to take the necessary steps in order to adapt their teaching, including laboratory workshops, to a fully online or mixed mode of delivery while maintaining their academic standards and providing a high-quality student experience. This transition has required, among other efforts, adequate investments in tools, accessibility, content development, and competences as well as appropriate training for both the teaching and administrative staff. In such a complex scenario, Virtual Reality Laboratories (VRLabs), which in the past already proved themselves to be efficient tools supporting the traditional practical activities, could well represent a valid alternative in the hybrid didactic mode of the contemporary educational landscape, rethinking the educational proposal in light of the indications coming from the scientific literature in the pedagogical field. In this context, the present work carries out a critical review of the existent virtual labs developed in the Engineering departments in the last ten years (2010-2020) and includes a pre-pandemic experience of a VRLab tool - StreamFlowVR - within the Hydraulics course of Basilicata University, Italy. This analysis is aimed at highlighting how ready VRLabs are to be exploited not only in emergency but also in ordinary situations, together with valorising an interdisciplinary dialogue between the pedagogical and technological viewpoints, in order to progressively foster a high-quality and evidence-based educational experience.


StreamFlowVR Tool Engineering Education Blended Approach COVID-19 Pandemic Virtual Reality Laboratories

Article Details

Author Biographies

Marina Brancaccio, Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma - UNINT

Marina Brancaccio is Adjunct Professor of English and a Ph.D. student in Linguistics at UNINT, while cooperating with various other universities and educational institutions. Her interests cover the field of Foreign/Second Language Acquisition, Interpreting and Translation Studies, Sociolinguistics, and Critical Discourse Analysis, as well as the use of technology in education.

Domenica Mirauda, Basilicata University - UNIBAS

Domenica Mirauda is Associate Professor in Hydraulics at the School of Engineering of Basilicata University. In 2021 she qualified as Full Professor. She has published about 90 papers on national and international journals and international proceedings on different topics of Fluid Mechanics and Applied Hydraulics.

Salvatore Patera, Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma - UNINT

Salvatore Patera is Associate Professor in Education at UNINT. He has published about 50 papers on national and international journals and international proceedings on different topics. He was visiting researcher and professor in many universities: Universidad de Zaragoza, Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (Ecuador), Pontificia Universidad Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul.

Ugo Erra, Basilicata University - UNIBAS

Ugo Erra is an Associate Professor at the University of Basilicata in Potenza, Italy, where he is the founder and the head of the Computer Graphics Lab. His interests are related to Computer Graphics, Extended Reality, and Artificial Intelligence.

How to Cite
Brancaccio, M., Mirauda, D., Patera, S., & Erra, U. (2024). Virtual Reality Laboratories in Engineering Blended Learning Environments: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, 19(4), 34-49.


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