Last updated: 14.07.12

Virtual learning environments 'could revolutionise education'

Online learning is set to revolutionise the education sector, it has been said.Writing in Time, education reporter for the publication Kayla Webley said that e-learning could cause a fundamental change to the position held by teachers in traditional classrooms.She suggested that encouraging educators to become a part of virtual learning environments is "probably the biggest challenge" faced by the sector, but outlined arguments that claim teachers will no longer need to "pontificate" in front of the class if this takes place, although they will still have an important role in education.Furthermore, while e-learning enables students to go through the course at their own rate, which seems like an "inherently good thing", Ms Webley claimed some educators say this could lead two students to graduate with widely varying skill sets.Presently, learners from low-income households could be disadvantaged through national online learning, as they are less likely to have a computer and internet connection at home, she continued.The Aucklander recently reported that a school in the poor New Zealand suburb of Glen Innes began to experiment with virtual learning environments, with the council installing wireless internet networks to lampposts and the educational establishment issuing netbooks to attendees to ensure students with the least money did not miss out.Well-crafted e-learning courses could help youngsters at the back of the class catch up to their peers more quickly, the Time article noted.Student Joshua Walker-Ford told the publication he is realising benefits from distance learning online.For example, he highlighted a time when he was being taught how to convert percentages to decimals through e-learning solutions - a concept he understood very quickly.The student completed ten questions on the subject before moving on to the next topic and pointed out this would not happen through traditional classroom learning."At my old school, I would understand something in one day, but the teacher would still go over it for two or three days for the kids who didn't get it," he was quoted by the publication as saying, adding: "Here, I can just get it and move on."