Effective Use of Virtual Technology

Topics: Virtual learning environment, Education, Educational psychology Pages: 10 (2548 words) Published: December 10, 2013
ABSTRACT

This report explores recent literature in the fields of E-Learning, Technology in the classroom and modern theories in learning strategies and recent developments in virtual classrooms in order to inform the research question:

How effective is the use of a virtual technology to improve the learning of key educational groups?

Although there has been much debate into the positive and negative aspects of the use of technology in the classroom and the effect on students, there seems to be little into the impact on key educational groups. It was concluded that a controlled study into the effects on students was need to ascertain if technology can improve learning for different groups of students.  

INTRODUCTION

How effective is the use of a virtual technology to improve the learning of key educational groups?

There is an increased use of information technology in today’s classrooms and a growing trend amongst some educational theorists that education should be reflective of the students’ underlying social environments, (Downes, 2012). There is also a fear amongst some educationalists that tech-free classrooms are not the most engaging learning environment, (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2013). Educationalist have hotly debated the merits of a virtual environment for education where there is a reduced personal interaction inherent in an online learning system. (Elearning-companion.com, 2013).

There is little literature and evidence which is directly related to the question of the effectiveness of a virtual environment in education. However, there is a considerable amount of material on the topics of ICT within the classroom and also current educational theories about the changes in learning paradigms and the use of virtual worlds. These areas can be investigated further to establish an academic background to qualify the future research which can be more specific. This report therefore looks at recent literature from leading authorities in education practises and theories as well as the positive and negative aspects of using a virtual learning environment.

E-LEARNING

E-learning is a term that describes educational technology that electronically or technologically supports teaching and learning. Bernard Luskin, a pioneer of e-learning, suggests that the ‘e’ should be interpreted to mean ‘exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, emotional, extended, excellent, and educational’ in addition to ‘electronic.’, (Luskin, 2010).

Luskin also suggests that e-learning ‘still revolves around gadgets and gizmos’, (Luskin, 2010), but that e-learning should be driven by theories of behaviour and human experience, (Luskin, 2010). E-Learning encompasses multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction (CAI), internet-based training (IBT), web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environments (VLE) which are also called learning platforms, (Chukwunonso and Binti Ibrahim et al., 2013, p. 7 to 15).

Cull and Reed et al suggest students are more likely and more motivated in an e-learning class as, students are free to log on and complete work any time they wish. They can work on and complete their assignments at the times when they think most cogently, whether it be early in the morning or late at night (Cull and Reed et al., 2010).However, many teachers feel they have a harder time keeping their students engaged in an e-learning class. A disengaged student is usually an unmotivated student, and an engaged student is a motivated student. (Dennen, V. P., & Bonk, C. J. 2007). One reason why students are more likely to be disengaged is that the lack of face-to-face contact which makes it difficult for teachers to read their students' nonverbal cues, including confusion, boredom or frustration, (Cull and Reed et al., 2010). Kushnir informs that some students often report feeling overloaded in courses that...


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