Virtual learning has changed the face of education in so many ways. There is no longer a need to attend a physical classroom. From the comfort of your desk at home, you can continue to learn. All you need is a smart device and internet connectivity.
Students join a virtual classroom and can interact with other students and teachers. At the end of the semester, they get the normal certification. It is very much what they would get when attending a brick-and-mortar establishment.
Our article goes into an in-depth exploration of virtual classrooms. We will define what they are.
You will also see the advantages of the use of such technologies for all the stakeholders. Let's dive into the discussion.
Virtual Classrooms; What Are They
A virtual classroom, in its simplest definition, is an online learning portal. It allows for real-time interaction between educators and students. It does not matter which geographical part of the world the participants are in.
The platforms use video and audio conferencing facilities. Such allow for easy communication, collaboration, and interaction.
There are two main types of virtual classrooms.
- Instructor-led or supervised virtual classrooms best mimic the brick-and-mortar type of education. The teacher carries out real-time, normal lessons within a specific time and date.
- Unsupervised virtual classrooms allow students to learn at their own pace. Institutions help the process by providing learning material. It could be in the form of PowerPoint presentations, videos, or written content. The educator only plays a supervisory role as and when required.
To enjoy the virtual learning environment (VLE) facilities, institutions need the right technologies. Learning management systems like Goschooler
offer cloud-based automation solutions and tools.
Teachers and students get to engage in live classes via internet-connected devices. And, that is not all. There are tons of other benefits to using such software. The student management systems help with data storage, progress checks, and report generation.
Educators can also create custom content or lectures on the platform. There is easy access to information on a centralized dashboard. It increases efficiency and productivity; both for students and the administration.
Advantages of Virtual Classrooms
1. Scalability and Cost Effectiveness
A physical classroom has limitations in the number of students it can accommodate. The same does not apply to the online space. A virtual classroom can host as many students as the school administration allows.
The advantage is that schools no longer need to turn away students due to lack of capacity. They also don't have to invest in facilities like classrooms, desks, and chairs. The impact on the bottom line will be worth the spend on such technologies.
For students, virtual classrooms provide an opportunity to join their preferred institutions. Geographical locations no longer need to be a barrier.
A student in India can join a university in the United States. It also makes it cheaper for the learners. They do not need to factor in relocating or accommodation expenses.
2. 24/7 Access to Learning Material
Cloud-based facilities allow students and educators access to learning material 24/7. Students don't have to wait for the library to open to study. Even those with busy schedules can do school work at their convenience.
The process is as simple as logging into the portal. You then get to enjoy all the convenience such platforms offer.
But, this is not to say that there is no structure in the online programs. Students must adhere to coursework, assignments, and timelines.
If they are taking supervised learning, they must adhere to schedules. Think about it like having to attend class otherwise the teacher will mark you as absent.
The main advantage is that there is a little more flexibility on the online platforms. Some institutions allow students to choose their timing.
It works for those who may have jobs but are also students. They can better use their time by not having to commute from place to place.
3. Easy Access and Better Customization of Lessons
As we have highlighted above, getting access is easy. Students only need internet connectivity and login details to access the lessons.
The only limitation would be the technological capacity of the learners. Hardware issues and internet cost, access, and speeds can be an issue for some learners.
Virtual Learning in third world/developing countries has challenges like poor network infrastructure. Insufficient ICT knowledge is another.
But, educators can offer customized lessons that can help overcome such challenges. Self-paced learning and 24/7 access to material mean such students do not fall behind.
The access to pre-recorded lessons helps, even if they miss the supervised classes. They can also ask for sessions outside classroom hours to consult with the teachers.
4. Course Variety and Quick Feedback
Online learning does not limit students on the type of courses they can take. What is available in a traditional system is available in virtual classrooms. That means you can earn diplomas, professional certificates, degrees, and doctoral degrees.
The use of technology allows for instant feedback. No more waiting for days or weeks to get back results from an exam. Students can also get access to practice tests to help them prepare for examinations.
Automation means the grading occurs minutes after the student completes the test. It allows the student to concentrate on areas of weakness. By improving on such areas, students perform better. The teacher is also available to help if the student needs guidance.
Virtual classrooms bring tons of benefits for both learners and institutions. It removes any limitations that come with traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. There is, for example, a limit to the number of students in a classroom.
Learners can participate from any part of the world. It removes geographical limitations on education access. Students from all over can now realize their educational dreams. The system is cost-effective, flexible, and convenient.
Teachers upload course material so that students have access to it anytime they need it. Everything happens on a centralized dashboard further improving efficiency.
Many people are embracing online platforms for education and work. Thus, we can only expect virtual classrooms to continue to rise in popularity.