A virtual learning environment refers to an e-learning system of education which acts as a virtual model of the conventional classroom. It provides virtual access to tests, class content, grades, homework, assessments, and several other resources including links to academic websites. In fact, it is more or less a social space where the teachers and students are able to communicate via chat or discussion boards.
Though a virtual learning environment is considered as a basic component of distance learning, it can be clubbed along with a real learning environment. In a virtual learning environment, the teachers and students can meet online by means of a synchronous application which is purely web-based. Further, the teacher can provide lessons via chatting, PowerPoint, or video.
The virtual learning platforms serve a number of purposes. Some of them are content management which includes creating, storing, and accessing the learning resources, curriculum mapping as well as planning which comprises of assessment, lesson planning, etc. Moreover, a learning platform offers a secure environment which could be accessed by a wider audience.
There are many components for a virtual learning environment. Some of these are listed below:
- Detailed information regarding the program like the registration, prerequisites, physical sessions, contact details of instructors, etc.
- The entire course syllabus
- A notice board intended to provide updates about the details of the ongoing academic program
- Communication support like threaded discussions, e-mail, etc.
In short, a virtual learning environment acts as a virtual model of the traditional classroom.