Virtual learning environments (VLEs) are increasingly popular, with the eLearning market set to double by 2022. It’s easy to see why. eLearning is attractive to today’s tech-savvy learners, who are inevitably highly dependent on their smartphones. It provides huge advantages for both learners and instructors in terms of convenience and flexibility, with opportunities for self-paced learning. It also creates previously unheard-of capacity for learners and instructors to connect globally, without geographical limits. Reductions in the need for travel resulting from this can save time and money, as well as reducing carbon emissions! It’s also a constantly evolving sphere. Continual development of virtual training software means that the possibilities in digital education are endless.
The eLearning Revolution
Distance learning has long been an attractive option for learners. A forerunner in the area was The Open University, which was established in 1969 and has been delivering remote teaching ever since. The flexibility offered by distance learning enables people to fit their studies around their other commitments. It also makes learning available to those who live in remote locations or might find it difficult to travel to training centres. In recent years, eLearning has become ubiquitous, with applications in any sector where training is required. Thanks to advancing technology, new trends are continually emerging, which facilitate the development of highly customised education solutions. Courses can be delivered entirely online or eLearning can form part of a blended learning programme, which combines face-to-face learning with virtual training.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) is at the vanguard of interactive eLearning. A natural extension of traditional classroom learning, vILT can make existing training content available on virtual training platforms, where learners can connect globally with instructors and with each other. It’s suitable for any situation where training is delivered, from the education sector to corporate training programmes. Learners can benefit from self-paced learning, accessing course content at the times which best suit them. They can also take part in live Interactive sessions with instructors or facilitators, which is where vILT really comes into its own.
Live, interactive sessions
eLearning software creates a virtual classroom, with tools such as virtual whiteboards, polling, and chat functions to boost engagement. Key to engaging learners on eLearning platforms, as in traditional settings, are enthusiastic instructors, who make use of interesting content, in video, audio, text or image format. Of course, in the virtual space there can be greater opportunities for learners to “tune out” of sessions. They can’t be seen by the instructor, and they may be exposed to distractions in the form of emails or social media. The platform provides instructors with tools to combat this. For example, breakout rooms can be used to create small group discussions. The best and most engaging live sessions are highly interactive, and they don’t need to be very long. Bite-sized sessions with plenty of discussion, supported by good course content which can be accessed before or after the session, are an excellent combination for effective teaching and learning in the digital space.