Virtual Lab Recommendations


As the world continues to move into a space where virtual labs are even more necessary, Lumen decided it was important to evaluate the variety of virtual lab products and solutions that are currently available. We specifically wanted to look at how each option will serve our mission of student success. So we analyzed a selection of features including ease of student use, adoptability, and how well the lessons align with our course learning outcomes.

Please note that Lumen does not currently have any partnerships with these organizations, nor have we been asked to review these virtual lab products. We created this documentation solely to help our faculty and institutions figure out what might work best for their courses. After reviewing over a dozen options, these are the virtual lab solutions we recommend:

Pivot Interactives

Pivot Interactives offers over 90 chemistry interactives across a variety of chemistry topics. These lessons have clear instructions, are very detailed, and lay out a learning plan for students. The interactives are either video- or simulation-based and the video-based interactives allow students to change the parameters of the experiment. This results in a new video and creates a more real-life experience. Some interactives are machine graded, but this feature is not consistent throughout. The interactives are organized by level of scaffolding, instructional purpose, and location in the instructional cycle making lab selection for teachers very easy and straightforward. Teachers may request a 14-day trial to explore the offerings, and their reasonable pricing is determined by the number of students enrolled.

Chem Collective

Chemistry Collective provides virtual labs, simulations, scenario-based activities, tutorials, and auto-graded problems across many topics such as stoichiometry, thermochemistry, acid-base chemistry, oxidation/reduction, and physical chemistry. The virtual labs simulate the use of tools and glassware that would be present in any in-person chemistry lab and allows students to pour and combine different solutions to solve various problems. Each lab comes with clear instructions and support help for both students and teachers. The website organizes all resources by subject and is very user friendly. All of the Chemistry Collective resources are free for use by teachers and students.


Labster has created many simulations over varying levels and chemistry topics. The simulations are 3D animations offering an immersive storyline experience for students to apply their knowledge. Each simulation has an automatically graded quiz embedded for teachers to assess students’ comprehension. Simulations come with clear learning objectives and instructions for students and take anywhere from 20 – 50 minutes to complete. Pricing begins at $49 per student for access to only 8 simulations, but institution-wide pricing is also offered.


LabXchange combines open-source interactives, simulations, case studies, assessments, videos, and pathways into one searchable/filterable library – over 1,000 are chemistry based. These lessons come from OpenStax, The Concord Consortium, Khan Academy, PhET, and other open education resources. Simulations are not as in-depth and complex as the others on this list but do offer brief, situational-based learning for students. LabXchange is a great resource for teachers wanting to add quick activities, lessons, and videos to their courses without having to sign up for anything.