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The benefits of virtual learning

15 May 2014

Using the latest technologies, virtual learning allows students to electronically join an instructor led classroom and interact with the other students and instructors as if they were there. These classes can be taught in the IT suite of a learning centre, however students are able to log-in from anywhere with an internet connection meaning that structured virtual learning classes where a physical presence is required are becoming less common.

Virtual learning is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. A high number of Total Training Solution courses are now taught virtually, as a virtual learning environment can often cater to more people. The classes can be accessed from anywhere, saving the time and cost of travel, and making it easier for those with busier lifestyles to fit in their studies around their job, family or social life. Assessed work is also often submitted electronically with virtual classes, along with quizzes and classes being taken online, making it easier for students to submit work instantly and for instructors to receive, mark and distribute feedback on work quickly.

However, the electronic submission of work has its drawbacks. Students are able to cheat and plagiarise far easier with electronic work than within a classroom environment. While cheating is of course unbeneficial and hinders learning, a level of trust comes into play with virtual learning. Another disadvantage of virtual learning is its reliance on technology. If there are any problems with the internet connection on either side, or if a certain website is down, it can be incredibly problematic, especially if it happens when assessments or tests are due.

Virtual learning, like all types of learning, is suited to some students more than others. For some, a hands-on or face-to-face approach is preferred, and many find it difficult reading off screens. However for others, the visual elements of virtual learning can engage them, and enhance their learning experience. The ability to communicate with other students and instructors electronically is often embraced by those who may not have the confidence to ask questions or strike up a conversation in a classroom environment. Virtual learning also promises standardised courses - whereas with classroom learning, the topics covered and resources used may depend on the teaching style of the instructor, with virtual learning everyone gets access to the same resources, regardless of where they live or where they take the course.

It is of course important to remember that virtual learning suits some courses more than others. For example, it would not necessarily lend itself to a customer service qualification, where face to face communication plays a key role. However, with many IT qualifications such as Cisco, Microsoft or ITIL certifications, it can help to learn electronically. It can lend itself to hands-on tutorials and examinations, and also encourages beginners to use their computer in different ways.

Take a look at our full list of qualifications which use virtual learning. You can also view our entire range of courses through our course directory. Feel free to contact us with any queries on 0800 612 1299 or send us a message through our enquiry form.

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