Virtual learning is increasingly attracting the attention of experts in the field of e-learning. For more than ten years, distance learning has been successfully in organizations and educational institutions. Educational portals are available for non-formal education and training on specific topics. Similar environments are now called virtual environments. The major advantage of the virtual classroom and acquiring electronic education is that it enables both students and lecturers to take the online courses from anywhere. For example, students from all over the world can take an MBA degree online to learn together.
The main task for organizations now is to prepare the necessary conditions for permanent training centers in which students will take advantage of such virtual environments.
The E-learning Media Group conducted a study that showed that 64% of corporate respondents already use virtual training, and 18% intend to implement it shortly. The use of virtual worlds in training will increase next year by 250% in 20% of organizations. The same study notes that collaboration and social learning are also gaining momentum – 77% of organizations are planning or are already using such approaches for staff training.
BENEFITS OF A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
The world’s leading companies, such as the Intuit, Healthcare Financial Management Association, IBM, Medco, CA, ADP and others, regularly use virtual learning environments in their practice. They organized courses in almost all types of activities of a modern enterprise: production and marketing of products, management, marketing, personnel management, etc. They make it possible:
- Create an optimal learning environment/simulator;
- Have constant access to content and experts.
- Increase ROI (return on investment) for training;
- Reach the maximum audience for training;
- Reduce the time it takes to release service or product to the market;
- Reduce training costs and increase the effectiveness of studies;
What is e-learning?
E-learning is the provision of a learning offer electronically. It includes web-based learning, digital collaboration and the provision of learning content over the Internet. E-learning takes place in the virtual classroom and enables both students and lecturers to communicate synchronously by integrating materials such as audio, text, video or interactive whiteboarding into the course content.
In a traditional classroom with a teacher and a group of students, many people with mostly different levels of knowledge come together. These situations pose a difficult situation for teachers: either they repeat material and thus help to close the knowledge gaps in the group, but they lose time. The other option is to continue with new material and run the risk of not being sufficiently understood by the part of the group.
An analysis of such teaching situations shows that effective e-learning can get the best out of traditional education and can even surpass it. In the virtual classroom, each student can be addressed more easily by the lecturer and individually included in the classroom according to his or her needs. Because in e-learning, lecturers use new technologies to facilitate communication and strengthen learning. The participants are actively involved in the learning process, and knowledge gaps should be prevented. The lecturer can use screen sharing to share their screen content with the group, giving each participant the impression of being right in front of the computer. Also, modern aids enable lecturers and students to access all materials and to edit and comment on them; this stimulates discussions, and all students are always up to date.
The Virtual Classroom forms a learning environment in which everyone participates in learning at the same time. Compared to traditional learning methods, such as frontal teaching, e-learning enables more convenience and tools. With the help of various graphic tools, interactive exercises should be carried out, and tasks can be solved visually. Also, information intake can vary greatly from person to person. E-learning supports three of the four classic types of learning: the visual type of learning, for example through the use of the interactive whiteboard, the auditory type of learning with the help of audio tracks or video recordings including sound, and the communicative type of learning through conversations and discussions via live communication with a headset that is easy to understand from every row and controlled by the lecturer.
In today’s widely networked and virtual world of work, it is important to think “out-of-the-box”. With digitalization, it is possible to carry out virtual courses, retraining or further training, and it is also growing in popularity. Not to be forgotten is the strengthening of one’s digital skills through the use of the various technology and software of e-learning.
All of these points make e-learning very effective and demonstrate the advantages of a virtual classroom over a traditional one. Who knows if we will meet our lecturers personally in the future?
In addition to organizing training, virtual environments provide detailed reporting on all formalized accounting criteria and direct access to content at any time convenient for the employee.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS IN A COMPANY
The plan for integrating a virtual learning environment in an enterprise consists of six sequential actions:
1. Strategy and planning.
Start by setting goals and making a plan. Choose a qualified vendor with an experienced and knowledgeable team. It will take a test period for running in and correcting the program – at least three months. The best option is to create a single business model and attract specialists from each area of the enterprise’s activity for it. The wider the professional reach, the more effective the learning process.
2. The accumulation of experience.
A leader is necessary who will be the engine and soul of the project of introducing a virtual learning environment, around which a team of like-minded people crystallizes. Thanks to his authority, over time, work on the organization of training will go strictly according to the plan and on time.
3. Give the event an appeal.
Advertise your event in each unit a month and a half before it begins. Each employee must be aware of his goals, objectives and capabilities.
4. Training and education.
At the preparation stage, make sure that the technical staff is well-trained and potential visitors will not have problems with access to the resources declared for training and support. Connect a virtual environment or a virtual event on the day the event begins.
Maintenance and analysis.
It is necessary to advertise the event and attract employees to use the content of the virtual environment constantly, even after the end of the next training cycle. Create feedback on the learning process, periodically analyze the learning process and student behavior and, if necessary, quickly adjust the learning environment.
Creating a virtual learning environment at the enterprise is a powerful tool for solving the problems of training and advanced training of personnel. At the same time, they are constantly developing, improving and taking corporate training to a new, better level. Now it is possible to create your virtual learning scenarios that will cover narrowly focused topics and at the same time, be cost-effective for the enterprise.