In Engineering, laboratory experiences are valuable tools for students to gain experience by applying concepts and problem-solving skills in a hands-on environment. An inquiry-based lab with open-ended research questions is the ideal solution for maximizing student’s experiences within them. However, without familiarity with the equipment, an understanding of the experimental limitations, or mastery of the types of information available in the experiment, the trial-and-error approach for such labs takes a long time, consumes many resources, and leads to frustrations for students. The possibilities for a virtual delivery of more structured lab experiences to fill in some of those gaps before an inquiry-based lab would allow us to free up some of these restrictions. Our research question is to determine to what extent a virtual pre-lab experience can replace a physical lab. If virtual labs can replace the physical lab experiences, we should be able to revisit the fundamental questions of engineering education, i.e. what labs are for, how they should be structured, and how resources should be allocated.