What Is Virtual Learning

The Purpose of Online Learning Environment in Education

Virtual learning environments are not a new phenomenon in education. Many schools, colleges, and universities have implemented these programs. Also, large organizations have their own virtual learning environments to teach new employees at the start of their working experience and enhance their experiences. So, what is a virtual learning environment?

By definition, a virtual learning classroom is a virtual platform that helps in changing the learning processes from brick-and-mortar classrooms to the internet.

This article explores the core features of virtual learning environments, including their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Learning Environments

Virtual learning environments allow the following;

  • Allow access to online learning materials such as podcasts, images, videos, and texts.
  • Providing feedback, tracking the performance of students, and grading
  • One-on-one chats with instructors and group discussions
  • Live lessons
  • Management and planning of lessons
  • Submission of homework

A virtual learning environment offers new opportunities for educators, learners, and administrators. Also, these computer-aided approaches bring about some challenges.

Pros of Virtual Learning Classrooms

New technologies are implemented so as to make something faster, simpler, and better. The implementation of VLE makes no difference. So, let’s start with the advantages of a VLE.

1) Flexibility

Advantages of Virtual ClassroomWith the assistance of a virtual learning environment, the learning process is more flexible, particularly in regard to time. Free and permanent access to studying materials enables learners to align their education with other activities and plans. Hence, it is easy to continue with studies even with family responsibilities and full-time jobs.

Additionally, learners can work at their own pace. Every individual can watch texts and read texts several times so that they can understand the content, whereas faster learners do not have to wait for other learners to proceed to the next topic.

2) Accessibility

Because students can learn online, they do not have to attend face-to-face classrooms. This makes it possible for disabled persons and people residing in remote locations to access high-quality education. Also, virtual learning systems facilitate a continuous learning process since students can continue with their education even with holidays.

3) Affordability

The other benefit of a virtual learning environment is that getting a high school diploma is cheaper since students do not have to pay campus fees. Students will not need to spend money on transport to school.

4) Engagement

The other advantage of virtual learning environments is that they are friendly with new approaches and different content formats. Also, they improve the learning roadmap with podcasts, videos, and online quizzes and tests. Mixing various activities enables learners to engage better.

5) Simple Management

A virtual learning environment assists instructors in planning lessons, managing administrative work, tracking the performance, engagement levels, and activities of learners, and providing extra assistance and materials to those who want. Also, it is easier to evaluate the efficiency of curriculums and update them if necessary.

Drawbacks of Virtual Learning Classrooms

Virtual learning environments also have some disadvantages. Together with significant advantages, there are some drawbacks that you must consider when implementing a virtual learning environment solution.

1) Communication

Although virtual learning environments offer many tools that aid in facilitating communication – live lessons, group discussions, chats – they can’t allow the same engagement levels as face-to-face conversations. This discourages mutual assistance and warm relations in a specific group and also prevents learners from developing conflict-solving and communicative skills that they require in real life.

2) Motivation

Since learning environments are flexible, it can be a challenge for individuals with motivation or those without self-discipline. It is difficult for learners to study effectively and stay concentrated without strict deadlines and permanent control. Additionally, virtual learning environments opens many opportunities to lie because nobody knows whether students are utilizing other devices as they take online tests. So, high motivation and self-discipline are crucial.

3) Limitations

The other disadvantage is that not all educational activities are done virtually: students can’t conduct sophisticated experiments from the comfort of their homes. Notably, these make most courses to be too theoretical for more utilization or accessible only within learning systems.

The other limitation is late answers. Learning in a traditional classroom, students can ask questions and get instant answers from educators, whereas online learning means time flexibility for every participant, including instructors.

4) Investments

Implementing virtual learning environments needs money and time investments from schools. Notably, online learning environment systems can either be developed from scratch or selected current solutions. The staff needs to adapt to new ways of organizing the learning process.

Students also need significant investment in VLE. There are many people who can’t afford computers or laptops to enable them to learn online.

Reaping Maximum Advantages of an Online Learning Environment

The benefits of virtual learning environments are followed by many shortcomings. Nevertheless, there is the best way of avoiding these challenges – mixing traditional and online learning. Blended learning offers educators and learners the best features which make the process of learning to be effective. With blended learning;
Importance of Virtual Classroom Teaching

  • Students can catch up in the event of sickness, travel, or other commitments that make them miss lessons.
  • Parents can know the performance of their teens and whether they are engaged more in the learning process.
  • Learners can get a more personalized curriculum based on their interests and learning pace.
  • Student-to-student and student-to-educator communication are live, thus, more involving and effective.
  • Students can submit their assignments online, and also; they can comment online.
  • Educators get computer-aided assistance when planning and creating lessons as well as managing activities that relate to courses.
  • The process of learning is enhanced with additional course materials and interactive online activities in order to expand knowledge.

If virtual learning environments are employed by learning institutions to teach students, it is easy to gain only the advantages of these systems by combining live communication and online education with colleagues and mentors.

Is Online Learning More Effective Than Classroom?

YES. Online learning is more effective than classroom learning. Here are some of the best reasons why it’s always better to opt for an online course than traditional classroom training.

1) Provides Flexibility

The biggest benefit of opting for an online course is that you get maximum flexibility in terms of time and place, unlike classroom courses where one needs to be present at certain times during scheduled office hours or classes. Online courses give you complete freedom as one can set his own schedule and timetable at his convenience according to one’s availability and commitments. Consequently, while taking an online course you will have more control over your workload since there are no restrictions on its usage anywhere anytime such as traveling etc.

2) Cost Efficient

Another big advantage of taking an online course is that it is extremely cost-efficient. Online courses are much cheaper than classroom training since they can be accessed at one’s convenience. In addition to this, many online services provide free trial versions from which the student can gauge the quality of education and also assess whether he will be able to complete the course or not.

Some companies also provide mentoring services with their online learning courses thus making them a lot more personalized in nature than classroom-based training sessions. Often students who join these online courses receive personal attention from the trainers, which lowers overall costs further since they don’t require any additional resources other than a laptop or computer as well as the internet to access these courses across the country and even across the globe.

3) Convenience

Another reason why online courses are better than classroom training is because of their convenience. Students need not make any changes in their schedule or work as well as family commitments to take an online course since they can access it at their own comfort from anywhere, anytime without having to worry about the timings, etc. This is one major benefit of taking an online course over a traditional classroom-based one.

Moreover, most online learning companies also provide students with mobile apps for easy access to study material while on the go such as traveling, commuting, etc. which further makes them more convenient than regular classroom learning. Also, the availability of such mobile apps for both android and IOS platforms makes this advantage of online courses available to all.

4) Grading System

Another reason why online learning is more effective than classroom training is that it offers a better grading system when compared with traditional classroom-based ones. In an online course, students can evaluate their performance at any point in time thus allowing them to assess their progress in a much better way than an offline classroom-based training where students have no such option and are dependent on the teacher’s feedback for scoring or grading purposes.

Online course helps the student to analyze his performance and also correct himself accordingly according to the number grade/score he gets after each evaluation from his trainer during various phases of the course over a period of time as opposed to regular classroom-based training where students have no control over their grades. This gives more responsibility to the student and also allows him to analyze his performance better if he gets an unsatisfactory grade, which is usually not possible in a regular offline classroom training where they are graded by the instructor on a pass or fail basis only.

5) Higher Success Rate

Yet another benefit of joining an online course is that it offers a higher success rate when compared with classroom-based training since one has complete freedom to take as much time as they want over a period of time they feel comfortable with, unlike conventional classroom-based training programs which follow strict timetables and schedules.

This gives you more control over your progress than what is available in conventional classroom-based training. Online training is also effective because you can access the course material any number of times, unlike offline classroom-based training where you get to see their instructor only once a week or month. Moreover, if online courses have been designed properly, they can offer a higher success rate as compared to conventional classroom-based learning.

6) Quality

Another reason why online courses are better than traditional classroom-based ones is that the quality of education offered by both categories of training depends upon the trainer performing it. Thus, quality differs from trainer to trainer and most often students cannot assess such aspects before joining any course since they don’t have much time or resources to research various trainers available in their area of studies prior to signing up for a course.

Online courses on the other hand offer a higher degree of quality assurance since they are designed in such a way that they guide you through each and every step of your training from start to end, unlike regular classroom-based training where trainers depend more or less upon their own experience and the knowledge they have acquired during years of learning which one may not be able to share equally with all students enrolled in his class irrespective of their level of understanding as well as their purpose for joining the class itself.

7) Customization

Another advantage offered by online courses over traditional classroom-based ones is that they allow students to customize them according to their needs and requirements which again is not possible in regular classroom-based training trainers.

In online courses, you can ask your trainer to add or delete a particular topic from the course material if in case you don’t find it relevant or essential for you without any cost involved whereas in traditional classroom-based training one cannot do the same since it is not possible for trainers to alter their training programs once they have been designed and released.

8) Workload

Moreover, the workload in the case of online courses is much less than traditional classroom-based training. This advantage offered by online courses over classroom-based ones can be attributed to its e-learning nature wherein students don’t have to face their teachers every day unlike classroom-based training, therefore it allows them to study and complete their training material in less time with a much lower workload.

9) Security

Completing online courses is also a very secure option since it doesn’t require any visits to the training center, unlike classroom-based training where students have to visit their classrooms regularly.

Moreover, while completing an online course one can take as many breaks in between sessions of that course without any issues whereas in the case of traditional classroom-based training programs one has no such freedom. Thus, Online Courses are much more likely secure than conventional classes and therefore they are getting preferred by an increasing number of learners every year.

Resources and References: