Virtual Learning

What is virtual learning?

Field trip

Students learn in many different ways - independently, in small groups, through enquiry, exploring passion projects, researching, finding and solving problems. Often they collaborate with each other face to face, at the same time, on a task. They can also learn 'virtually'. This doesn't mean they 'sort of' learn something: it relates to learning afforded by digital tools that can happen anywhere, anytime - facilitated (and usually online) through a range of rich and exciting media channels.

Digital technologies provide many stimulating ways for students to learn, enabling them to explore, connect, interact, share and create beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.

This is an exciting time in education!

Students today have access to more information than ever before in human history and have wonderful new opportunities for learning, exploring and sharing their learning. They can:

  • use virtual conferencing tools such as Polycom, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Lync and Skype to communicate globally with their peers and experts
  • be immersed in exciting virtual excursions, field trips and immersive 3D environments, virtual reality, challenging web quests and online collaborative projects
  • access virtual learning networks, web forums, become experts, authors, publishers, producers and directors
  • screen films, make music, and undertake courses online which enrich their learning or provide them with access to subjects not offered at their own school
  • learn in flipped classrooms can be flipped
  • access learning 24/7, even when school is closed
  • be self-paced, mobile and
  • have their classes streamed live.

Virtual learning can besynchronous (where all students log in at the one time in a virtual classroom or online space), or it can be asynchronous (where they access information and content such as session recordings in their own time).

When students enrol in a course online, or use materials that have been developed for them by, for example, their teacher, they usually access this through a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). A VLE is a system for delivering learning materials to students via the web. These systems include assessment, student tracking, collaboration and communication tools. (Oxford University Press). You can probably think of a number of different VLEs already.

Victorian virtual providers

The provider of online courses or materials is known as a virtual provider. In Victoria, there are several providers who develop and offer learning materials and courses to Victorian students. These include:

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