Over the past year, more than a billion students in 186 countries have been introduced to virtual learning. When schools closed due to the global pandemic, these students were sent home to learn. What researchers found was that there are many benefits to virtual learning. It allows for continuous learning remotely, keeps students safe, and also improves the knowledge retention rate.
What is Virtual Learning?
Virtual learning refers to a method of instruction or schooling that takes place online or through technology, such as computers and tablets. Students can access courses, lessons, worksheets, tests, quizzes, and more and complete the assignments at home. It is a modernized form of distance learning as the student does not need to attend a school or sit in a classroom for learning to occur.
Benefits of Virtual Learning
A variety of content helps students that learn in different ways. For example, some students excel with worksheets, while others benefit more from video instruction. With virtual learning, various elements can be used, such as:
- Animation videos
- Interactive games
- Real-time online instruction
All of these can be combined for a more dynamic learning experience.
One of the most significant benefits of virtual learning is its accessibility. Courses can be available to all students, regardless of skill, grade, or location. Not having to attend a brick-and-mortar school allows access to education no matter where they live. All that is needed is a computer and an internet connection.
3.Peer Learning Opportunities
Virtual learning lends itself to peer learning, which is a powerful education tool. The essence of peer learning is that students learn from each other. This may be from the questions that other students ask or feedback that is given by peers. In an online setting, students can discuss topics and materials together, enriching the learning experience.
The learning environment online allows kids to build connections with others that have similar interests. They can discuss their passions and challenges with each other. Through a virtual learning experience, students can collaborate on projects and strengthen their teamwork skills.
Students who opt for virtual learning can get the work done in less time. They no longer have to sit in a classroom all day but can be out exploring their world, developing their interests, and gaining some real-life experience.
Another benefit of virtual learning is the ability for students to get fast feedback on their work. In a traditional school setting, teachers often take students’ work home to mark it. However, when assessments use technology, students can see right away how well they did and identify the areas they need to work on.
7.Increase Knowledge Retention
Research has discovered that e-learning can increase knowledge retention rates up to 60 percent, compared to 10 percent in a traditional classroom. Students also cover five times more material in an online setting.
8.Enhanced Critical Thinking Skills
A study from Bay Atlantic University found students reported an increase in critical thinking skills following online learning sessions. Eighty-five percent indicated that their problem-solving skills improved as a result of their virtual learning experience.
9.Better for the Environment
Online learning is also an environmentally-friendly form of instruction, according to Britain’s Open University. Their study found that e-learning requires 90 percent less energy and reduces carbon emissions by 85 percent compared to traditional schooling.
Not all students do well with a traditional 9-3 schedule. Virtual learning offers students the flexibility to work when and where they want. It allows them to work on other interests and activities, such as sports, music lessons, etc. You’ll also be able to schedule family time and trips without impacting your students’ studies.
In a classroom setting, students are expected to work through lessons together, which can hinder fast learners or those who need more time with the material. However, virtual learning allows students to move at their own pace. Online courses are an ideal fit for learners who need more time to grasp the material or those who want to work ahead.
As more organizations transition into remote or hybrid workplaces, students can benefit from virtual learning as a way of career preparation. Many of the skills they will need to succeed in their careers can be learned through virtual experiences, such as technology, computer literacy, emotional intelligence, and self-discipline. The future of work will likely involve collaborating with a geographically dispersed team. Virtual learning students will already have discovered how to be successful in that type of setting.
The COVID pandemic has allowed students and researchers to gauge the benefits of virtual learning. Many studies have discovered it has been a success. Virtual learning offers students an excellent option for ongoing learning while staying safe. The benefits include enhanced collaboration, increased knowledge retention, and flexibility and accessibility of lessons, among others.