Multiple studies show that eLearning boasts numerous benefits for students of all ages, intellectual abilities, and learning habits. When compared to the traditional classroom setting, virtual classrooms allow for greater flexibility and freedom to choose individual learning paths.
This alone has the potential to significantly increase engagement rates.
Not only do engaged learners have a better attitude towards learning, but they also quickly develop a hunger for knowledge that transforms them into continual learners. In today’s ever-changing world, this is of crucial importance for one’s personal and professional fulfillment.
Virtual classrooms contribute to learner engagement in various ways.
The following are only the most important and effective ones:
Virtual Classrooms Don’t Take Up Too Much Room in Learners’ Lives
And by “room”, we mean critical resources that are time and energy.
Whether we’re talking about online schools, digital academies, or specialty courses that are open to all ambitious students, we cannot deny that the most attractive quality of virtual classrooms is the fact that you can sit in classes whenever you can and wherever you are.
This implies two important things:
First, ambitious learners can take online courses in their spare time, be that while commuting to work early in the morning or late at night, when they’re done studying for their offline classes. This kind of flexibility and convenience is not possible in the traditional setting.
And second, learners can choose when to take their online classes based on their peak productivity hours. Not only are their energy levels not affected by commuting to classes, but learners can also take their lectures and exams when they are well-rested and in a good mood.
They Help Hone Self-Learning Abilities in Overly Dependent Learners
The concept of virtual classroom challenges and changes the teacher’s role.
Of course, there are different types of virtual classrooms based on the level of teachers’ involvement. In blended learning, the internet is nothing but a medium that brings the teacher and the student to the same virtual space via some kind of real-time online streaming service.
If the student so chooses, the teaching approach can remain traditional.
But popular eLearning schools and platforms usually “downgrade” teachers to expert facilitators who provide guidance only when needed. Their role is to track learners’ progress, address potential issues, provide additional learning material, and answer learners’ questions.
All this allows for learning to become a self-paced process.
In combination with flexible schedules, learners can take the absence of a teacher as an opportunity to hone self-learning skills and prepare for a lifetime of intrinsically motivated and continual learning. The importance of self-guidance and self-assessment cannot be overstressed.
Virtual Classrooms Cater to Learners from All Educational Backgrounds and Abilities
Picture the following scenario:
A university professor enters her brick-and-mortar classroom with around twenty students. They are from all generations and walks of life – some tech-savvy and informed, in their early twenties, while others in their late fifties, eager to learn but slow to understand new concepts.
What teaching method does a professor employ, and at which pace?
This “mixed bag” problem has remained unsolvable since the beginning of traditional education. And it doesn’t only refer to different generations, but also to students of various intellectual abilities, attention spans, willingness to improve, learning styles, and personality types.
eLearning excels at this. Not only are learners often allowed to choose their learning environment and surrounding, but they are also provided with highly personalized learning paths that cater to their individual needs, pain points, and interests. This is called adaptive learning.
Virtual Classrooms Are Also Available to Learners with Special Needs
Adaptive learning is of special importance when it comes to learners with special needs. Unlike the traditional classroom, virtual classroom ensures exceptional retention rates even when education is for some reason inaccessible to learners. This completely changes the landscape.
In certain countries, for instance, girls are still forbidden from going to school.
eLearning is a huge game-changer for learners with limited physical and mental abilities, as well as for those who simply cannot afford to attend good schools. Introverted learners can also benefit from online courses, even when they involve a great number of other students.
The ramifications of such all-inclusiveness are incredible.
By accepting the most diverse learners from all over the world and not judging them by the color of their skin or their social background, eLearning is gradually paving the path towards a different and better world. Virtual classrooms help create equal opportunities for all.
Online Learning Can Simulate Real-Life Scenarios and Experiments
Is there something that offline classrooms have and virtual ones don’t?
The amount and quality of human interaction needed for better knowledge retention are equal in both situations – both offline and online, learners are enabled and encouraged to discuss, exchange ideas, and listen to their peers. With real-time video, there’s no difference.
That covers inquiry learning.
But what about experiential learning?
A lot of employee training programs, for instance, rely on real-life simulations where employees are learning by others’ examples or from their own experience – roleplaying is one of the most effective exercises in face-to-face corporate training. The same goes for other learners.
Every kind of simulation, and then some, can be run in a virtual classroom. Popular online employee training programs now include VR exercises that simulate authentic scenarios without any pressure of real-life consequences such as failing an important client or losing a job.
Using the same technology, medical students are entering the human heart.
Virtual Classrooms Have Access to World-Class Experts and Resources
One more thing differentiates traditional classrooms from online-based schools, ensuring that bonus points go to the virtual classroom. With eLearning, students have access to the world’s leading field experts and largest databases. The world’ knowledge is at their fingerprints.
Once again, the effects of this benefit are immeasurable.
Even if we choose not to talk about the massive importance of the democratization of knowledge, we can still discuss the fact that listening to real-time lectures delivered by some of the greatest minds of our time usually costs the same as buying an outdated textbook for school.
Unlimited access to learning resources is crucial for continual learning. In today’s volatile professional landscape, where another field of expertise is going obsolete every day, upskilling and diversification of skills are the only guarantees for a successful and money-earning career.
Virtual Classrooms Reduce Teachers’ Workload
In an online classroom, since everything goes online, it tends to put very less workload on teachers. Using online assessment software, teachers can create online tests and exams and assign them to the students via email. Analyzing the results of these assignments too becomes easier with autogenerated reports. Depending on the results, teachers can easily assign courses to the students via online classrooms. All of this wouldn’t be possible in a physical classroom and teachers would end up spending hours in preparing test papers, grading papers, analyzing results and assigning courses to the students.
However you look at it, the virtual classroom wins.
These modern times have rendered the traditional classroom archaic. The only brick-and-mortar schools that are still relevant and competitive are the ones that have embraced technology as a way to communicate, exchange ideas, and learn about the ever-changing world.
Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing for the consumer market in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. Having a knack for writing and an editorial mindset, She is an expert researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools such as ProProfs Quiz Maker.