Sunday, January 1, 2012

All About Virtual Learning Environments


With rapid developments in the field of technology, the Learning and Development industry has incorporated dynamic changes in the process of learning. The World-wide Web has now become the newest platform for conducting classes and training sessions. With web-based learning becoming the rage, virtual learning environment is gradually gaining ground. Following the virtual environment, the Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is turning out to be the most popularly used learning platforms.

Normally, a virtual learning environment involves an integrated set of computer software tools to support learning. Here is a brief description of how virtual learning environment streamlines the process of learning.

•A virtual environment gives unlimited access to the course content and study material as and when required, no matter where you may be located.

•The system offers an organized and steadfast repository of content, and thus streamlines the entire content management system. It helps instructors to upload and organize study materials via a Web-based platform even without using technical tools such as File Transfer Protocol or FTP.

•Virtually users can create a private community and can carry out important conversations using a range of synchronized communication tools, like bulletin boards, real-time chat rooms, discussion forums, and so on. It helps in expanding their knowledge base.

•Learners can be divided into small sub-groups depending on the subject they are studying. With the help of communication tools, students can access tutorial support and enhance peer-to-peer interaction.

•Virtual environment offers a host of reporting tools that allows a learner to evaluate their day-to-day performance. Besides, instructors can efficiently administer the assessed tests.

•There is a number of tracking tools available, which enables users to keep detailed information about the students and class schedules.

The virtual learning platforms come with ready-to-use course materials, such as content according to the curriculum, interactive, multimedia components and so on. The new age virtual environments are integrated with Web 2.0 features such as Wikis and blogs in order to accentuate the interactive aspects in the process of learning.

At present, academic and corporate training organizations are increasingly using virtual learning environments to ensure flexibility in the process of imparting knowledge. Both on-campus and distance learners can access its benefits. On-campus students can get the access to study materials beforehand and can have an idea about the curriculum. In case of distance learning, it breaks the geographical barriers thereby enabling students to get access to course content and online classes instantly.