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The Use of Virtual Environments in Online Learning Education

Aug 17, 2007
When the world was introduced to online learning, education saw several changes that were for the better. A wider range, more students which, in turn, meant less people who were illiterate, and an overall cheaper, better educational system.

Online learning is indeed all it is made out to be, as the many graduates from online colleges will attest to. The tools used to give this form of education its extra edge are numerous, ranging from computers to PDAs and occasionally more sophisticated technologies. Of those, virtual learning environments most resemble a classroom.

When the teacher and students don't communicate face to face, it becomes harder to keep track of each student's progress. In addition to that, in online learning education there is no limit as to how many students can attend one class at a time, and a teacher is often faced with hundreds of exam papers. Virtual learning environments are software systems that help in management and course administration and enables both teachers and students to keep track of their progress through the click of a button.

These systems run on servers and can look like internet pages, making them easy to access and navigate. Within the system you will find forums, discussion groups, online chat rooms, templates for content pages, as well as assignments and quizzes that can be downloaded or answered on the pages themselves.

The way this system operates is simple in theory. Teachers will fill in the existing templates and release them so the students can use them. The released pages are usually course material, quizzes or assignments. If the document needs to be resubmitted with modifications, the teacher can set up a submission form through which students can upload the required documents.

None of this needs any knowledge of computer languages, which is part of what makes this system so desirable. All one needs is a basic knowledge of how to operate computers, which is not such a rarity in this day and age, when the Internet motivates nearly everyone to learn how to use computers, if only for the sake of communicating with friends and loved ones in other parts of the world.

Universities that offer online lessons have started to incorporate virtual environments in their systems for numerous reasons. It economizes the time of the teaching staff and reduces confusion and clutter that may result otherwise. Students are comfortable with the system as well and can go there for information rather than getting frustrated over fruitless searches.

Overall, the advantages of online learning education are numerous, and the disadvantages little to none. And since the field of computer software is always in development, whatever disadvantages there may be will, eventually, be erased completely.
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