The practical application of petroleum principles is the key to optimum petroleum engineering education. Although some of these skills are required and often emphasized by accreditation bodies, mastering them requires vision, planning, and allocation of time and budget by academic institutions. Enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching and active learning of practical relevance can be achieved through applying information technologies and performing undergraduate research experience program. Research experiences support students in comprehending a phenomenon in an area that contains practical experiences, specifically in petroleum engineering. In Qatar, a national funding initiative called the undergraduate research experience program (UREP) is available, and luckily almost all the petroleum engineering students at Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) participate in UREP. Research provides an iterative process to develop how knowledge evolves. Not only that, but several field trips are arranged annually for the students to visit onshore rigs and facilities in the state of Qatar. Adding to that, in-house virtual reality (VR) offshore rig and geological site were developed that can waive several difficulties in arranging an actual visit. The information technologies bridge formal and informal learning by connecting the students to real-world experiences. In this paper, surveys were conducted among former students on the value of independent student research on developing their skills. Also, the value of actual and virtual field trips on enhancing their understanding of petroleum engineering concepts were measured through the conducted surveys. The results of surveys indicate that the provided experiences significantly enhanced both the skills and learning experiences in the petroleum engineering education of former students in their workplace. Feedback came from the students that research experiences developed the students' skills that complemented their workplace skills. Also, recommendations were made to embed the VR field trip in more petroleum engineering courses. Moreover, concepts in courses such as Drilling and Production Engineering, as well as Geology of Petroleum, became easier to grasp after these trips.