What is a virtual learning environment (VLE)?

It is a teaching and learning design space. For some, the term “virtual” conjures up images of a fictitious world that replaces real life. However, virtual learning environments do not replace traditional classrooms or educational practices. They improve them. They add value by expanding the physical learning environment’s space. They provide opportunities for both teachers and students to stretch their imaginations.

Virtual learning environments are technically designed spaces that look similar to architecturally sophisticated buildings. Consider an ideal teaching and learning environment, one in which the messy desk covered in coffee-stained assessments and the equally massive pile of lesson plans are all moved to your laptop. Teachers can easily switch between assessment, feedback, sharing, and monitoring without spilling their coffee. Students’ assessments are returned quickly and undamaged.

A virtual learning environment provides an elegantly designed space for teaching and learning and a comfortable environment for learners, teachers, and students. A good VLE enables users to co-create their learning environments over time. Why not just use virtual learning environment software to plan, share, and process everything that goes into a physical classroom – the lesson plans, assignments, and conversations?

The right VLE, rather than being an anti-social space that substitutes real life, improves the social space of a classroom. It allows for the creation of discussion threads, surveys, and polls. It enables students to submit assignments without having to locate their teachers. It serves as a central location for an unlimited number of resources in the form of worksheets, documents, and PowerPoint presentations. Teachers can use a VLE to connect students to other online resources, articles from newspapers, embed videos from YouTube, and provide platforms for student-created podcasts. More than just a virtual database for learning resources, the most highly valued virtual learning environments and virtual learning software provide access to endless pathways of connection, content, and learning for students, teachers, school leaders, and parents.

Evolution and the Future

“Tell me, and I’ll forget,” an ancient Chinese proverb says. ” I’ll remember if you show me. Involve me, and I’ll understand.”

Evolving VLEs are embracing that ancient wisdom. They include technologies that promote collaboration, interaction, and modeling for students, teachers, school leaders, and parents. They work to break down educational barriers and increase social interaction between individual students, classmates, and the classroom content. VLEs provide students with motivating, self-learning experiences.

Importance of virtual learning environment

Within the last few years, the concept of traditional education has shifted dramatically. Being physically present in a classroom is no longer the only way to learn — not with the advent of the internet and technological advancements, at any rate. Nowadays, as long as you can access a computer, you can get a good education whenever and wherever you want. We are now ushering in a new era — the online education revolution.

There is no need to dismiss the skepticism surrounding online education. It’s difficult to comprehend the idea of abandoning the traditional classroom, especially when confronted with this vast space known as The Internet.

However, this is not a reason to avoid this option, which has repeatedly proven relevant and useful for several students. According to the most recent Babson Survey Research Group survey, more than 30% of higher education students across the United States are enrolled in at least one distance course. Whether you’re a youngster or an adult, online education is a wise choice. As a student, this can be an effective method of honing your skills in a challenging subject or learning a new skill.

The importance of virtual learning varies from increased flexibility to a much more individualized learning experience that can assist adult learners in improving their educational attainment rates.

  1. Online learning has the potential to increase access to and affordability of higher education.

Among the most pervasive barriers that may prevent you from pursuing a degree are the financial constraints of returning to school. Besides tuition, campus-based programs frequently include additional student fees, costly textbooks, transportation, or living expenses.

On the other hand, many online degree programs can assist you in lowering the costs of obtaining a degree, whether it be through savings on the fees of the school itself or by saving you the cost of journeying to campus, employing additional childcare, or lessening your work hours.

Because of the flexibility it provides, online learning allows more adult learners to graduate. To complete classroom-based learning, several adult learners have had to relinquish job roles, re-negotiate hours, and accept lower pay in the past.

  1. Online learning can help adult learners achieve higher degree completion rates.

Obtaining a degree has never been easy, but the challenges are magnified if you are also working or raising a family. However, online learning may be able to improve your chances of finishing your degree.

According to National Center for Educational Statistics data, the percentage of students aged 25 to 29 who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher improved from 25percent in 1995 to 36percent in 2015.

At the same time, virtual or distance learning is becoming more popular. According to the annual Online Report Card from Babson Survey Research Group, 28 percent of all higher education students in the United States – 5.8 million students – were taking at least one online course in 2015, a 3.9 percent increase compared to the previous year and the thirteenth consecutive year of population increase for distance education enrollments.

This has enabled online learning, and the flexibility of that format has made lifelong learning viable in ways that classroom setting learning would not have made possible for many adults.”

  1. Online learning may improve one’s career prospects.

In today’s workforce, post-secondary education is more valuable than ever. According to the NALC, by 2020, 65 percent of American jobs will necessitate some level of post-secondary education. Online degree and professional training programs, with their increased flexibility and accessibility, can help you gain the skills you need to succeed in today’s economy.

Today, most people who enter the labor force will probably hold a couple of different extra jobs in various fields throughout their careers. Career development and certification of knowledge, skills, and ability are required for advancement and employment in today’s rapidly changing labor market. Online learning is the path to acquiring the skills and knowledge required for new jobs and careers.

The advantages of online learning have no intention of abating. As new technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence improve learning opportunities, online degree programs are primed and ready to become even more powerful.

Virtual learning environment advantages and disadvantages

Virtual learning is a comparatively new method of obtaining an education in various subjects, and it, like most things, has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

Accessible – Virtual learning is available to anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Location – You can participate in an online course from any location that has a Wi-Fi signal.

Flexible – Virtual learning is usually available at a time that works best for the student. There is no longer any requirement to be present in a classroom at a particular time on a particular day.

Affordable – Since you can learn from the convenience of your own home, there are no travel costs associated with virtual learning.

Convenient – you can study whenever and wherever you want, making this learning ideal for those with young families, full-time jobs, and other responsibilities that necessitate input at specific times or locations.

Suits a Wide Range of Learning Styles – Each student has a unique learning journey and learning style. Some students prefer to learn visually, while others prefer to learn through audio. Similarly, some students thrive in the classroom, while others prefer to learn alone and are easily distracted by large groups.

The online learning system can be personalized in various ways thanks to its variety of options and resources. It is the most effective method for creating a perfect learning environment tailored to the needs of each student.

Disadvantages

Self-Discipline – You must have the motivation to sit and complete the course. For those that are susceptible to procrastination, this type of learning seems to be more difficult.

Impersonal – Since there is no real human interaction, the virtual environment can feel so lonely.

Isolation – because there are no other students to review the course with, the type of classroom discussions that can contribute to understanding the subject do not occur.

Solo Learning – If you need elaboration on a topic, you won’t be able to get it right away, as you would if a teacher were present and you could ask. In a virtual learning environment, you can still ask for clarification, but the response may be put on hold due to the online availability of the person who can answer your question.

Technology problems – Technology issues are often frustrating, but when they occur while you’re in the middle of a virtual class, they can be disruptive. The technology that powers a virtual classroom is just as good as the technology that powers it. Assume the learning software doesn’t perform well with your computer, or your Internet connection goes down in the middle of a lesson. In that case, you might spend extra time tinkering with the software or troubleshooting your connection than learning the material.

Inability to Focus on Screens – For several students, one of the most difficult aspects of online learning is the inability to focus on a screen for extended periods. With online learning, students are more likely to be easily sidetracked by social media or other platforms. As a result, teachers must keep their online classes engaging, crisp, and interactive to keep students fixated on the lesson.

What are the benefits of a virtual learning environment?

One of the many advantages of online learning is the flexibility provided by the virtual classroom.

The virtual classroom is at the core of online degree programs, serving as a convenient, central location for your university courses to take place. Although there are many resemblances between traditional campus-based education and the online school experience, learning in a virtual classroom provides many advantages that traditional college degree programs do not. Here are a few of the most significant benefits:

Coursework can be accessed at any time and from any location.

You have the liberty to study and finish your schoolwork at any time and from any location that works for your hectic schedule. If you’re in town on business, you can do your homework at the hotel while having to wait for a connecting flight or between meetings. You only need a laptop or some other digital device.

You’re at school once you sign in to the student portal on your online university’s website. You can view assignments, watch faculty presentations, conduct research, participate in student discussions, post homework, contact your classmates and teacher, seek help from student support services, get feedback and view your test grades.

A broader perspective

Online degree programs draw students from all over the world, bringing various perspectives from various cultures with them. You may be able to work on group work and work collaboratively with international classmates. Views into other cultural backgrounds, attitudes, and problem-solving approaches can help you think about problems and opportunities differently.

On-the-spot feedback on tests

When you enroll in one of several online degree programs applicable, you won’t have to worry about waiting for test results for days. You take your online tests, and they are usually graded once you are done. You can promptly see where you succeeded and where you need to improve. When submitting papers and projects, you will use a confidential “dropbox” where your teacher will have confidential access to your assignments and give written or video feedback.

Improved digital skills

You will improve your knowledge and skills in your field of study while also sharpening your digital skills on the most advanced online learning technology. As you continue to learn and study online, you will become more confident and productive in using interactive online tools like online tests, collaboration tools, drop boxes for assignments, email communications with faculty and classmates, and instructional videos by faculty.

How does a virtual learning environment enhance a student learning experience?

Technology has effectively led to the development of numerous innovations that are progressively changing the world. Technology has advanced learning in the educational sector by instituting virtual classrooms that offer students improved learning experiences. The virtual classroom is an online learning system that enables students and teachers to communicate in a corporate setting effectively.

  1. On-demand access to learning materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Every student’s dream is to have access to learning materials 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and virtual classrooms provide that access. A virtual classroom allows you to have unlimited and unrestricted access to learning materials at your leisure, regardless of where you are, without having to drive to the school campus. Furthermore, you can have unlimited access to lecture notes, assignments, papers, and class discussions with a smartphone, laptop, or any digital device that can connect to the internet.

  1. Facilitated learning

Because of the more structured learning structure and pattern that the system adapts, virtual classrooms make learning easier for everyone. Deadlines are used in virtual classrooms to submit projects, assignments, and tests, and a student’s schedule can be adjusted to meet the deadline. The use of a deadline in a virtual classroom allows students to work under less pressure, allowing them to do a better job.

  1. Improved time management

Virtual classrooms enable a student who is a family man or woman to manage their time effectively by allowing them to learn without depriving their loved ones of genuine family time. In the traditional classroom-based learning system, a student wastes a lot of time traveling from one campus to another for lectures. On the other hand, virtual classrooms address these issues by allowing students, particularly adults, to better manage their time by eliminating the stress of moving from one location to another.

  1. A broader learning perspective

Because mobility is not an issue in most online schools, students come from almost every continent. As a result of this advancement, students now find it easier to associate with people from cultural and social backgrounds that are vastly different from their own. This broadens a student’s learning perspective, keen insight, and thoughts. For example, an African in the same research team as an Asian can gain knowledge about some of the Asian race’s deep histories.

Types of virtual learning

Students can choose from a variety of online learning models based on their preferences. Each of these types is complete and well-equipped. With all due respect, the following are some examples of online learning:

  1. Synchronous Online Learning/Live 

Communication between those interested occurs instantly in this type of learning, and members can access information in the meantime. Some examples of synchronous e-learning include virtual classrooms, video/sound conferencing, and an ongoing graph powered by ezTalks Video Conferencing. One of the most important benefits of synchronous online learning is that it provides instant feedback on their performance.

This type of learning also hastens the formation of teaching groups, allowing for a greater connection to better understand a specific subject. The best part about synchronous online learning is that it allows for better member inclusion.

The main disadvantage of this type of learning is that it does not provide self-managed learning or logistics of planning. It also necessitates the management of students’ accessibility across time zones.

  1. Online Asynchronous Learning

This is also known as store and forward online learning because communication between members does not occur instantly. Taking a self-managed course, presenting information on various discussion gatherings, and exchanging email messages with at least one coach are examples of asynchronous learning. Asynchronous e-learning provides flexibility, availability, and much-desired self-guided learning.

However, one of the downsides of asynchronous online learning is that a student may feel alienated or less compelled because there is no avenue to ongoing collaboration with different members in this procedure.

  1. Blended Online Learning

This is more commonly known as the blended learning method, which combines regular in-person and online workshops, addresses, and interactive workshops with learning online via exercises such as messaging, discussing through discussion sheets, quizzes, tests, and declarations.

Students receive feedback from online quizzes and tests in this type of learning, which causes them to identify gaps in their knowledge and ways to cover them. All of the presumed online foundations provide blended learning for the overall benefit of learning communities.

Virtual learning environment software

Educational institutions use virtual classroom software to host classes while retaining the functionality of a traditional classroom environment remotely.

A virtual classroom delivers real-time lessons over the internet while providing the same collaborative tools and degree of interaction as a physical classroom. Educational institutions use virtual classroom software to provide access to students who are unable to attend in-person classes. Teachers can interact with students in real-time via the virtual classroom environment, and students can view presentations and videos, interact with lesson materials, and take tests.

Online learning platforms have also evolved, so if you want to learn another language, you can do so using language learning applications and online flashcards. There are also the best e-learning online classroom services for children. There are also coding platforms available for schools.

Learning is available through digital means. It doesn’t take long to discover a fact or to master a skill. With this in consideration, the way educators and training organizations develop courses is also constantly evolving.

Top Recommended Virtual learning environment software

  1. Zoom.
  2. Adobe Connect.
  3. Cisco Webex Meetings.
  4. Top Hat
  5. Blackboard.
  6. Schoology.
  7. Panopto.
  8. Tovuti LMS

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