Online learner-centered self-directed educational opportunities are growing in scope and acceptance across the academic curriculum because of the flexibility for the learner and cost-effectiveness for the institution. However the offering of online science courses and particularly physics instruction has lagged behind due to the challenge of re-creating the hands-on laboratory learning experience. This research examines the effectiveness of the design of a series of physics laboratory experiments for potential online delivery which provide learners with hands on experiences. Two groups of college physics learners conducted physics experiments inside and outside of the physical laboratory using instructions and equipment provided in a kit. Learning outcomes as determined by pre-test, written laboratory report, and post-test assessments and learner reactions as determined by a questionnaire were utilized to compare both types of laboratory experiences. The research findings indicated learning outcomes achieved by learners outside of the physical laboratory were statistically greater than the equivalent face-to-face instruction. Evidence from learner reactions comparing both types of laboratory formats indicated learner preference for the online laboratory format. These results are an initial contribution to the design of an entire sequence of experiments that can be performed independently by online learners outside of the laboratory satisfying the laboratory requirement for the two semester college physics course.