Essay on Virtual Learning
Number of words: 1668
Virtual learning involves an educational experience that is enhanced through electronic devices such as computers, with the support of an internet connection. It is vital to examine why virtual learning is important within the society and educational institutions (Stricker, Weibel & Wissmath, 2011). In the past, learning had one option for all students, that is, to attend physically for them to learn. With the developments made in technology, virtual learning has been made possible in many learning institutions. Virtual learning is convenient and cost-friendly to the students as one can learn remotely with an internet connection. Equally, with the internet, one has an opportunity to a large pool of information to boost understanding of various concepts (Keppell, Souter & Riddle, 2011). One does not need to appear physically at the institution premises for classes and other inquiries. Virtual learning is dependent on IT infrastructure existent for various institutions, which means that only institutions with established technology can use the approach (Stricker, Weibel & Wissmath, 2011). On-campus learning was common in the past due to a lack of digital platforms that could support the same. The paper seeks to examine the virtual learning and why it is appropriate for institutions to adopt the strategy to administer education.
Argument for Virtual Learning
Virtual Learning is Convenient and Cost-effective
Virtual learning is convenient in the sense that one does not show up physically for lessons and other school activities. Under virtual learning, students use the internet and software applications such as Skype to link up with colleagues, share notes, and hold discussions on course material (Keppell, Souter & Riddle, 2011). The fact that one can access education through digital devices makes it convenient, unlike on-campus learning, where one has to be present physically. Traveling expenses that students incur when going to school daily is normally spared with virtual learning. For instance, a student in Asia can effectively attend lessons with her colleagues on video calling through the internet. The lecturer can be based in any part of the world so long as there is a stable internet connection and an online platform that supports virtual learning. Students in remote areas can receive updates and complete assignments through virtual learning, unlike in the past (Xu et al., 2014). Virtual learning is cost-friendly as compared to on-campus education. For instance, one only needs an internet connection and a server to attend such sessions. On-campus education requires one to spend money on accommodation, food, traveling, and other expenses that might arise.
Effective Time Management
Virtual learning ensures proper time management for both students and tutors in various institutions. On-campus learning consumes a lot of time that can be used constructively, especially when moving from one class to another. With virtual learning, minimum time is wasted as one does not have many distracters (Xu et al., 2014). For instance, a student traveling to school daily for lessons might get late at some point, which can be avoided with the use of virtual learning. It is easier for one to prepare for a virtual lesson as compared to when they should attend the same physically. Time is an important resource that can help one chive much if well utilized. As such, students need to effectively manage their time for improved professionalism. Virtual learning provides an opportunity for students to practice better aspects of time management (Xu et al., 2014). Both the tutor and the students must develop formidable strategies, including the formulation of a plan to complete the course. Equally, there is a need for one to track and prioritize activities for the effective execution of learning through virtual education (Xu et al., 2014). A study place at home is essential for a student who wants to effectively use their time through virtual learning. This will help reduce any slight disturbance that might prevent or alter learning.
Access to a Larger Pool of Information and Immediate Feedback on Tests
No better resource can provide one with lots of information on any research work. As such, the use of the internet is crucial in gathering necessary information or conducting background checks (Barker & Gossman, 2013). On-premise education has libraries, some of which are established with online platforms. A student learning virtually has a greater opportunity of accessing empirical, descriptive, and other forms of data from existing sources. On-campus education students have access to resources depending on the capacity of the specific institution. The essence of education is to learn new things and skills meant to initiate societal change. As such, using a resource that is rich in information on a particular concept or aspect is helpful (Barker & Gossman, 2013). Virtual learning exposes learners to digital approaches of sharing classwork information and enhances for immediate feedback of the tests. On the contrary, on-campus education cannot handle immediate feedback as it will take time for the tutor to release results. The tests are conducted online, which enhances faster marking and give feedback on the same (Barker & Gossman, 2013). The fact that the test re conducted online allows one to consult other sources before issuing a response, which is not possible for on-campus education. As such, virtual learning is useful and should be established in each institution for convenience.
Argument against Virtual Learning
Virtual Learning is not Possible for all Courses
Much of the courses that institutions offer can be taught virtually through digital means. However, technical courses that require experiments and lab reports cannot be effectively enhanced through virtual learning. The critical disciplines are better placed to offer courses virtually as compared to technical units (Kumar, Gankotiya & Dutta, 2011). In such a circumstance, institutions cannot use virtual learning as the primary approach in the course. Schools advocate for on-campus learning for technical disciplines, for they require the physical presence of both the tutor and student. The fact that it cannot facilitate the learning of such courses makes it ineffective in its capacity to deliver. Virtual learning should be used in institutions to supplement on-campus education for technical courses (Kumar, Gankotiya & Dutta, 2011). For instance, tests that require no experiments and other technical matters can be conducted online while technical exams can be done in institutions. Most teaching is going remote with increased civilization and digitalization. Each institution must lay the right infrastructure that supports virtual learning to act as a boost to contemporary approaches to education (Kumar, Gankotiya & Dutta, 2011). As such, virtual learning cannot be used to administer technical courses to students through digital platforms.
Technical Challenges and Lack of Interaction
Virtual learning is supported by both physical computer hardware and internet infrastructure. Technology is prone to challenges of failure or disconnection, which disrupts the process of learning (Crick et al., 2017). For instance, during a session online, some students or the tutor might experience a network problem. Such circumstances jeopardize the chances of learners gaining the required content. Technicalities should be handled effectively by devising an alternative for each platform that the class uses. With more technical challenges, education is challenged, and learners may lose interest due to the disconnection from concepts. Equally, much time is wasted on handling technicalities, which could otherwise be used constructively. Lack of interaction among learners in the same class might impact learning outcomes negatively (Crick et al., 2017). Learners need to bond with each other and exchange ideas on various disciplines. When learners meet face to face, their understanding, and tolerance amongst each other improve. Students who understand each other are likely to do better in their tests. As such, virtual learning might not be as useful in enhancing social interactions within class members (Michael, 2012). Virtual learning can be successful when an institution has established infrastructure in support of the same. The approach is faced with technical challenges, which result in a lack of interest and commitment among learners.
To sum it up, virtual learning utilizes digital means to enhance education delivery in n institution. The educational strategy has since proved helpful and economical to learners across many institutions globally. The paper examines the concept of virtual learning and why it is necessary for institutions. Virtual learning is convenient as learners need not visit institutions physically for studies. Effective time management and access to a larger pool of information are some of the important arguments in support of virtual learning. On the other hand, virtual learning is ineffective in delivering technical content to students. Besides, technical challenges and lack of motivation makes are some of the assertions that make virtual learning less important within institutions. Comparison between the arguments for virtual learning and opinions against the same indicates that if it is well established, it will prove helpful to an institution to a large extent.
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