Articulate Virtual Laboratories

An articulate virtual laboratory is a software system for teaching science and engineering by providing scaffolding and coaching students in conceptual design tasks. An articulate virtual laboratory provides scaffolding for students in several ways:

An articulate virtual laboratory includes the following software components (see box):


The architecture of Articulate Virtual Laboratories: Boxes indicate software components of the architecture, ovals indicate the major problem-specific data structures generated during the course of a student's design activity. Solid arrows indicate the path taken by a student's design as it is evolved. Dashed arrows indicate the major information flows between the components.


A design being created in our engineering thermodynamics AVL

We are currently building AVLs for two domains: engineering thermodynamics and feedback control. The prototype engineering thermodynamics lab is undergoing formative evaluations at Northwestern, Oxford, and the US Naval Academy. The feedback AVL will be tested with college students and also with advanced high-school students.


Students can explore the consequences of their assumptions with a dynamically generated hypertext explanation system

Selected Relevant Papers

Forbus, K. and Whalley, P. (1994). Using qualitative physics to build articulate software for thermodynamics education. Proceedings of AAAI-94, Seattle.

Panitz, B. (1996). An Articulate Virtual Lab. ASEE Prism, September, 1996, page 22.

Relevant Projects

Articulate Virtual Laboratories for Science and Engineering Education

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