Provide students with the tools needed to be successful
Institutions throughout the United States are utilizing technology for both in the classroom as well as outside the classroom learning experiences. Virtual Learning Environments are one of these tools.
Essential learning component is the student learning environment.
The Art and Science of Teaching with Technology, TeAch-nology, defines a learning environment as, “ the place and setting where learning occurs; it is not limited to a physical classroom and includes the characteristics of the setting” (2008).
Students are increasingly using social networking sites.
Virtual Learning Environments have the ability to provide students with interactive learning environments that were only possible previously in traditional face-to-face classes.
What is a virtual learning environment?
“ A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a system that creates an environment designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their students, especially a system using computer hardware and software, which involves distance learning.” (Wikipedia, 2008, para. 1).
The United States has continued to strive to provide education to all its citizens. This includes minorities, students with learning disabilities, foreign students, and both traditional and nontraditional populations. Virtual learning environments provide an additional avenue for those students seeking an education in remote locations or with lifestyles and/or disabilities that prohibit traditional forms of education.
Economize on the time of teaching staff, especially when they are also involved in research and administration. The extent of the economy over traditional "talk-and-chalk" teaching is not yet clear, but for instructors without web development expertise, using a VLE absorbs less time and produces a more professional result.
Provide a service for students who increasingly look to the internet as the natural medium for finding information and resources.
Ensure that quality control requirements are met by providing a standard vehicle for collecting the required information
Facilitate the integration of distance and campus-based learning. or of learning on different campuses.
Wikipedia (2008, para. 4) identifies some of the major reasons universities have started to implement VLE’s:
Students retain more when they learn by experience so incorporating technologies that create collaboration, interactivity, modeling, simulations, virtual reality interfaces, and gaming will help students experience the skill being taught (“Where is e-Learning headed”, 2001).
Benesova, Boland, & Galloway (2002) state that, “more flexible, comprehensive and dynamic communication is now possible through the available technologies of videoconferencing, live broadcasting, and faster connection speeds.”
Astin's (1984) theory of involvement posits that students learn more the more they are involved in both the academic and social aspects of the collegiate experience (Huntley & McCluskey, 2008).
“ Culture creates the tool, but the tool changes the culture. Participants in the culture appropriate these tools from their culture to meet their goals, and thereby transform their participation in the culture”
Benesova, A., Boland, S., & Galloway, W. (2002). Virtual learning environments. Retreived July 21, 2008 from http://www.dcs.napier.ac.uk/~mm/socbytes/feb2002_i/3.html
Clark, S., & Maher, M., L. (2001). The role of place in designing a learner centred virtual learning environment. Presentation from Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD) Futures 2001. Retrieved July 21, 2008 from http://web.arch.usyd.edu.au/~mary/Pubs/2001pdf/CF2001.pdf
Dillenbourg, Pierre (2000). Learning in the new millennium: Building new education strategies for schools. Workshop on Virtual Learning Environments presented at the Eclipsys User Network (EUN) conference. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/publicat/dil-papers-2/Dil.7.5.18.pdf
Duffy, T. M., & Cunningham, D. J. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of instruction. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Educational communications and technology (pp. 170-199). New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
Hutley, K. & McCluskey-Titus, P. (2008). Alexander Astin’s Theory of Involvement: A Summary. Retrieved July 21, 2008 from Illinois State University Web site: http://www.sotl.ilstu.edu/conf/astin.shtml
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm
The Art and Science of Teaching with Technology. (2008). Definition of Learning Environment. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from www.teach-nology.com/glossary/terms/1/
Virtual Learning Environments. (2008, July 21). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 21, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_virtual_learning_environments
Where is e-learning headed? " As e-learning technology and practices mature, expect more interactivity, greater topic coverage, and a wider range of uses." Advisor Zone, 2001. Retrieved February 12, 2007 from http://www.advisor.com/Articles.nsf/aid/SMITT318