BackgroundIt is crucial to use innovative tools to gain clinical reasoning skills through experiential learning in pharmacy education, and one of the most effective tools used in this is virtual reality. However, the lack of research that empirically demonstrates the instructional principles of virtual environment design, especially in the clinical setting, has resulted in a significant gap in the current literature.AimIn this study, it was aimed to determine the instructional design principles of a virtual environment for the clinical pharmacy.MethodThe study was conducted as a design-based research. The data of the study related to three components of the developed virtual reality environment in pharmacy education (VRPE). These components, scenario development interface-scenario development interface, virtual environment, and scenario, were collected through interviews, observation, document review, and a system usability scale. Instructional design principles for the VRPE were determined through analysis of the collected data.ResultsThe prominent instructional design principles of the VRPE were revealed as immersion, interaction, diversity, flow, aesthetics-ergonomic-universal design, informing, and retest availability. The significance of the study was the adoption of a holistic perspective in the design of a virtual reality environment for pharmacy education. In addition, one of the most critical features of the study was eliminating the expertise barrier in virtual environment design. Thus, it was concluded that the VRPE is an extraordinary tool that can be used for pharmacy education to promote experiential learning. What is already known about this topicEnrichment of pharmacy education with innovative practices and educational technologies is encouraged.Theories to guide research and application development regarding virtual environment design are lacking.Features such as immersion, interaction and flow in virtual environment design have been studied in various studies.The research brings a holistic perspective on the design of virtual environments in pharmacy education.The research removes the barrier of expertise in virtual environment design with the scenario development interface.The results expand the literature by revealing instructional design principles on the issues to be considered in virtual environment design.The implications of study findings for practitionersFurther studies on context-specific design of multi-user virtual environments and the factors and design principles required could be conducted.Future studies should explore the skills (e.g., cognitive, and affective) that would be developed by these design principles.The impact of virtual reality on professional life or whether the design principles are valid for these domains could be determined.