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Hands-on | Virtually!

Guidelines on virtual hands-on laboratory training

Can hands-on laboratory training be conducted remotely? What are some methods to virtually demonstrate how to handle laboratory equipment or remotely direct trainees to perform technical measurements? How can misunderstandings of instructions be avoided? What software applications can support virtual hands-on laboratory training?

It became obvious that these questions were on the minds of many technical experts when PTB received more than 80 registrations to its exchange of experience on virtual hands-on training in calibration and testing laboratories. The virtual event took place on February 25, 2021 and featured contributions from technical experts as well as discussions with all participants in breakout groups. The event was organized by members of PTB’s working group on Capacity Development.

Given the strong interest in the topic, PTB undertook to synthesize the discussions of the virtual exchange of experience in a written form and make them available for the benefit of the international cooperation community. We are happy to announce that the “Guidelines on Virtual Hands-on Laboratory Training” are now available for download on PTB’s website. The Guidelines recommend steps to be taken before, during and after virtual hands-on laboratory trainings by the trainer and the participants. The Guidelines also provide useful information on available software applications and tools such as remote desktop control and virtual laboratories as well as practical tips on how to set up audiovisual equipment to conduct the training remotely.


Follow-up events

 The transition to remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for most of us, who work at the intersection of quality infrastructure and international cooperation. Yet, it has been especially disruptive for laboratory staff and consultants, who used to conduct hands-on laboratory trainings on site. With travel restrictions and social distancing requirements in place, this particular type of training requires a major re-invention for the virtual collaboration era. We hope that the Guidelines will assure you that hands-on laboratory training is possible even remotely and will equip you with some new ideas and practical knowledge on how to go about it.

PTB is in the process of organizing further training events related to virtual hands-on laboratory trainings to respond to the strong interest in the topic. If you are interested in such a training on hands-on methods, on social challenges or on practical tools such as digital whiteboards, please let us know:

PTB’s working group on Capacity Development regularly organizes peer-to-peer consulting sessions for its staff members. These sessions last one hour and are meant to provide practical peer advice on a specific issue related to virtual collaboration in an informal and collegial atmosphere.

If you plan to organize virtual hands-on laboratory training for a PTB project, please consider taking advantage of this offer to receive useful advice.


The organizing team of PTB’s working group on Capacity Development included Corinna Weigelt, PTB head of section, together with the external capacity development expert Suzana Lange and the external metrology expert Irene Flouda. The team thanks the technical experts Elsa Batista, Karen Darbinyan, Fidel Fernandez, Irene Flouda, Christine Froese, Myrto Holiastou and Ekaterina Kotova for their input.


Image © PTB