Virtual Classroom: Why is it Better Than A Real One?
Imagine a traditional classroom with a teacher and a group of students. Depending on the class roster, a single lecture could be given to people with various knowledge levels. These situations present a difficult choice for teachers: Either repeat the material and lose time, or go ahead and risk being misunderstood. It is also important that the students are fully involved in the studying process. A skilled teacher always watches for feedback and encourages discussion. However, often the topic of the lecture itself implies a different delivery mode, more conducive to studying in a real working environment instead of a classroom.
The analysis of such situations shows that effective eLearning can take the best from traditional education and even surpass it. Modern learning tools should allow instructors and students to create, edit, and comment on all presented materials. This will encourage discussion and keep everybody updated on the latest news. Webinars and instant messages in chats are especially necessary in the corporate sector, for example when new products are put on the market and the first hands-on experiences are highly valued.
Undoubtedly, all courses need a knowledge assessment. Such a feature is also an integrated part of all eLearning systems. However, it is essential that every student’s results be evaluated gradually so that the program either takes them to the next level or prompts them to repeat the unit.
A powerful incentive to studying better is competition; in other words, having a partner who demonstrates better results. While communicating face-to-face, we follow our colleagues or classmates unconsciously, and an effective eLearning program should provide a similar possibility. Creating a rating system will manage group dynamics, and encourage people to study better. In addition, eLearning in the academic sector should use the collected data in order to set up comparative ratings among cities, regions and even countries.
One of the main distinctions between traditional learning and eLearning is the teacher’s role. Thanks to modern eLearning tools, the human factor is not that important anymore. Programs can collect information about a student’s progress, the purpose and the duration of studies, and even personal interests, and thus create a course that is fully individualized.
Finally, modern eLearning systems should make good use of different graphic tools to produce interactive exercises imitating real life events. For example, EF English First, an international school of foreign languages, offers its students to practice their language skills in the form of a dialogue, recording the voice with a microphone. Exercises like these are relevant to corporate learning, where it is important not just to gain theoretical knowledge, but also to apply it and feel confident about oneself.
On the whole, modern eLearning systems should provide an opportunity to share both knowledge and experience. In addition, online courses should be individualized, but still offer a way to give and receive feedback. There should also be a track record of everybody’s progress and achievements. All these facilities make modern eLearning highly effective, and demonstrate the advantages of a virtual classroom over a traditional one. Who knows if we'll still meet our teachers in person in the future?