Virtual Learning Environment

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Virtual Learning Environment
Introduction
VLE can be defined as a platform that is used for learning and interaction between students and teachers by a developed online computer-web technology. There are some factors that instigated the development of VLE and it dates back as far as the internet development itself. VLE – Past, Present and Future

Due to the need of improvement in educational systems and research, online learning has developed just as the internet and the World Wide Web has developed. VLE is an online learning environment that provides a range of interaction and communication, using a simple user’s interface. The advent of online (electronic) learning through “www” started in 1969 by the US Advent Research Project Agency (ARPA), which created a network, involving a distributed communication system capable of preventing a nuclear attack. Subsequently, not before long, the inventers realized that the network can be used for a range of other academic purposes, such as communication through email, material/file enhancing through (FTP), File Transfer Portfolio. The utility of this network allowed private developers to join in the use of the online learning tool. This superseded the initial network developed by ARPA, (tailored and run by US universities). The success rates encourage the widespread use across Europe and US universities. The disadvantage at that time was that usage was only limited to users who could use the UNIX-based computer terminals of that time. In the early 1980s, new type of computers, PC, which are less difficult to use and users friendly, were developed in conjunction with Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh OS; with the application of a mouse. This allowed for a significant increase in the use of computers, and online-learning. Electronic (Online) learning really began with the invention of the World Wide Web (www), by Tim Berners-Lee between 1989 and 1993. According to Paul Catheral, (2005), “Educational and research organization quickly took advantage of the web as a means of easily publishing documents online. The web did not just allow for basic document delivery, but also allowed for publishing a range of file formats represented by the growing range of word processing, database and other applications available. Though the “www” was only used in universities’ research centers and similar organizations, but, due to decreasing costs and increase in the number of users, “www” usage expanded in homes. Approaches to online learning have been a function of the growth of the “www”. Tools used for online learning are web-based and predominating via internet before the user could have access. Web-browsers is one of the tools used (most-common) and has a lots of advantages, being that there has been an increase in the number of users in recent years. It is worthy to note here that, the difficulty associated with online learning in the early development stage (teachers/lectures not having enough skills to manage, upload course materials due to lack of knowledge) has been solved in recent days by use of more user friendly inter-phase program, login-details and a mouse (This is much faster and easier). In terms of students’ experience, in the old online learning approach, students can only download, view displayed graphical content of the web,(as an end user), but the recent approaches to online learning (Virtual Learning Environment) has involved more, like emails, chat, wiki, blog, library etc. Traditional forms of VLE has only been characterized by static contents, update requires technical skills, limited interactions between tutors and students, and limited security, but modern VLE are sophisticated having changing web contents, animation, page updated by non-technical users, proper tutor-students interaction (chat, blog, wiki), and personal login details, which is an advanced form of security, privacy, and monitoring. VLE now entails approaches such as collaborative tools, document...
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