This paper introduces the systematic approach currently used by the Department of Computer Science and Automatic Control of the Spanish University of Distance Learning (LINED) to develop Web-based laboratories for distance learning of topics with high technical contents such as control engineering. This approach differentiates two layers in the construction of web-based laboratories: the experimentation layer and the e-learning layer. For the experimentation layer, LabVIEW and data acquisition boards from National Instruments are used to create the server-side applications and Easy Java Simulations for the client-side interfaces. For the e-learning layer, the eMersion environrnent is used to support the required flexible educational scheme. This paper describes the programming techniques implemented and the design considerations that justify these particular choices. As an illustrative case-study, an example of development of a web-based application is discussed, in which an electrical drive servo-motor is introduced as a convenient setup to practice with motion control applications. Other significant examples of web-based experiments developed by the authors are also reported.