This work presents the design, development, and testing of 3D virtual laboratories for practice, specifically in undergraduate mechanical engineering laboratories. The 3D virtual laboratories, implemented under two virtual environments—3DTV and Computer Automated Virtual Environment (CAVE)—serve as pre-lab sessions performed before the actual physical laboratory experiment. The current study compares the influence of two instructional methods (conventional lecture-based and inquiry-based) under two virtual environments, and the results are compared with the pre-lab sessions using a traditional paper-based lab manual. Subsequently, the evaluation is done by conducting performance and quantitative assessments from students' pre- and post-laboratory performances. The research results demonstrate that students in the virtual modules (3DTV and CAVE) performed significantly better in the actual physical experiment than the students in the control group in terms of the overall experiment familiarity and procedure and the conceptual knowledge associated with the experiment.

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