In this paper we introduce the concept of a virtual laboratory as an electronic metaphor for a "real" lab. The virtual laboratory allows the user to discover knowledge through simulated experiments guided by hypertext documents. It contains all the elements of a good physical laboratory: a wide range of objects and tools which can be assembled into experiments, a reference book, and a notebook for recording thoughts, inspirations, results and conclusions. The concept is illustrated by an example of a laboratory design.
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