An innovative online module in advanced manufacturing is developed based on a state-of-the-art virtual reality learning tool. The Advanced Virtual Manufacturing Laboratory (AVML) is a collaborative web-based virtual learning environment for integrated lecture and lab delivery which focuses on advanced machining using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tools. The system seamlessly and synergistically integrates multimedia lecture, interactive 3D simulation, and realistic experimentation in a virtual reality environment. The development involves three main elements: a simulator for CNC milling and lathe machines, a virtual-environment display engine, and an intelligent-agent engine. The virtual reality environment provides training in different modes on different operating procedures with the help of an intelligent virtual tutor. The AMVL content was designed to lead to certification. With the help of a NIMS certified practitioner the curriculum is refined to ensure a successful pathway to certification. Support for this pathway to certification is provided by the results of a quasi-experimental randomized study to assess the learning effectiveness of the curriculum content of the AVML. The development of the AVML, its pathway to certification, and the results of the learning effectiveness of the online virtual reality environment are presented in this paper.

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