Virtual training is closely aligned with the way people work and learn today. Unlike physical classroom training, which is based on a relatively rigid learning model, lives virtual training:
In the last 10 years, education has benefited from a real e-revolution – most training now have a functioning Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), at the heart of their teaching and e-learning programmes – a virtual ‘shadow’.
Virtual learning environments are not merely on-line, or virtual learning courses. A virtual learning environment can be just one component of an educational curricula, and can serve as an adjunct to in-class learning. A virtual learning environment is a virtual space for real interaction and discussion. Virtual learning environments are also not synonymous with virtual campuses, as the latter provides solely university or college-levels courses while the former does not restrict the scope to any particular level.
According to a recent report by ACTN (Anticipating Content Technology Needs)—a company that continually monitors the European virtual content industry—the new wave of Internet-based educational tools will “custom fit work schedules, budget, and training preferences” and will be used as self-service applications personalized for each individual). One of these tools is simulations, which many companies are beginning to recognize as invaluable to efficient and cost-effective ways of virtual learning. Similar to the idea of in-flight simulation programs, virtual learning simulations enable companies to train employees on new products and services without costly mistakes. A newly-hired support technician could, for example, engage in challenging “real-world” scenarios in a manufactured (or safe) setting. This type of education, in a sense, removes the faculty from the process, allowing participants to learn first-hand from their mistakes in order to acquire the necessary skills more quickly. More companies will soon utilize simulations for screening a prospective employee to see how he/she would handle certain situations. Over the next few years, there should be a proliferation of companies that design products or offer services that will enhance this educational medium.
This is one question that depends on the participant and the passion s/he carries, whether in a classroom or in front of the monitor who wants to learn will learn, but then again we have seen participants perform better during self-studies because no one can teach you what to do and how to learn, it is something that comes from within. So to learn they can learn but through the internet they will learn faster as it is an interactive medium.
All participants have different intellectual abilities. They think and learn differently. Some learning patterns will have been developed as a result of the schooling experience where materials were largely presented in a way that benefited participants with linguistic/numeric abilities. As a result innate learning styles may not have been developed and participants may need to be encouraged to identify their own learning pattern.
There are various ways of classifying differences in learning styles. Many theories and models have been proposed. This section will look at three of the most common learning styles classifications:
Left and Right Brain:
In the last 20 years, research has revealed that the two hemispheres of the brain perform different functions. According to Rose and Nicholl (1997):
‘The Left Brain specialises in academic aspects of learning – language and mathematical processes, logical thoughts, sequences and analysis. The Right Brain is principally concerned with creative activities utilising rhyme, rhythm, music, visual impressions, colour and pictures. It’s our metaphorical mind, looking for analogies and patterns.’
Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic Learners
Research by neuro-linguistic programming experts Bandler, Grinder and Grinder has identified three distinct communications and learning styles:
Visual learners relate most effectively to written information, notes, pictures, Handouts and Flipcharts, etc…. These learners need to see the tutor’s body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They may think in pictures and learn best from visual displays
Visual learners make up around 65% of the population.
Auditory Learners: learn through listening…They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say.
Auditory learners make up about 30% of the population.
Tactile/Kinaesthetic Learners: learn through, moving, doing and touching…Kinaesthetic Learners learn effectively through touch and movement and space, and learn skills by imitation and practice.
Kinaesthetic learners make up around 5% of the population.
All of us utilize all three types of learning, but most people display a preference for one over the other two. In early life the split amongst the overall population is fairly even, but by adulthood the visual side has become dominant.
That leads to the new trend of integrating classroom and VLE to suit the needs of different learners
It suggests that the roles of faculty could be defined in terms of how they support that particular facet of participant learning, Transfer of ownership – How do you encourage participants to take ownership of the technology
Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different. In comparison, driving a car and riding a motorcycle are both forms of transportation, but they have enough differences to warrant additional training and preparation when switching from one to the other. The same is true when faculty move from the traditional classroom to the online classroom. There are some things that the two have in common, but there are also plenty of differences. With this in mind, consider the following Five roles of an effective online faculty.
The future of virtual learning is also leading towards incorporating multi-media to further optimize the learning process and even turn online education into a form of entertainment and may be one of the most effective teaching methods for today’s participant s. ACTeN reports that the future trend is towards “digital convergence,” and that virtual learning will utilize “the capabilities of telephone, radio, television, and other interactive devices”. In theory, a person could watch a cooking show on television, access one of the recipes via a wireless hand-held device (e.g., iPhone, iPad etc…), and participate in an interactive cooking demonstration complete with a voice-over narration and virtual assistant. Whilst Participants may be anxious to catch up with the global trends in online education, the complex issues that attend online teaching and learning must first be addressed. As the studies in this paper have shown, for online courses to be effective there needs to be appropriate training and support both for faculties and learners as they develop new strategies in response to new technologies for learning.
It is also apparent that support structures need to be implemented at every level of the online process, and that these may vary according to the cultural context in which online opportunities are being provided.
Although a number of recent studies have endorsed the commonly held perception that some participants are less autonomous than others, what TTM study revealed was that the students merely preferred more direct personal interaction in their learning process that traditional classroom contexts readily provided.
It may simply be a case of participants wanting what they are used to, but it is also the case that they are very alert to the advantages of personal interaction that online learning is simply failing to provide.
With appropriate support from the faculties the majority of the participants enjoyed the extra flexibility and opportunities that online learning presented, technological frustrations aside, and responded well to integrated tasks that extended from online contexts, to more social, traditional teaching, contexts.
While the debate will remain “Can Virtual learning replace classroom training?”
TTM has the privilege to integrate all types of learning methodology and offer both types of learnings with the help of its enormous pool of faculties whom have a huge experience in classroom and virtual learning thus give us the opportunity to fulfill the need of a wide variety of learners with different industry and different cultures.