There was a time when education could only be imparted to students in a set classroom that demanded physical attendance. Then came an era when distance learning became possible. It was a time-taking task that required correspondence between the learner and instructor via post. A student would receive all the study material via snail mail. He or she would go over the entire course on their own and at their own pace. Any queries were solved either by themselves or through the post. But with technology advancing in leaps and bounds, this time taking process was altered.
Recent development in communication made it possible to have diverse methods of distance learning. Today, a person can study a course via web-based lectures or by downloading material online or through an interactive session. The world is their oyster when it comes to studying. There is no limitation as to how one gets access to the material. They can be sent over the internet or post. Assignments, study guides, workbooks, textbooks, instructions, questions papers, etc. can be exchanged via fax, instant messages or even telephone. The mode depends on the convenience of the learner and the choices offered by the college.
It is to be noted, though, that virtual classes have become the norm. They can be taken at any time and at any place. This has reduced the time wasted in receiving material posted using regular mail. But what are virtual classes?
• Defining Virtual Classes
Online learning sessions that happen using the internet are called virtual classes. There are similar to standard classes except that they place in the virtual world. They include:
o web conferences
o live broadcasts
o Skye calls or video session
Unlike other modes of distance learning that do not give the ability to learn along with other students, virtual classes have this advantage. Though all the students may be sitting in their own homes in different cities spanning the globe, they are connected using the internet. It means they can participate in learning activities together, ask each other questions and in general replicate the feel of a physical classroom. The absence of social interaction that most distance learning degrees have is not present in virtual classes.
• Defining electronic learning
Not all those who want to earn a degree, diploma or certification are comfortable with virtual classes. For such students, e-learning is an excellent option. Any application, software or hardware that allows you to gain knowledge using a computer comes under the purview of electronic learning. When you use a CD or a DVD or an app to study something, it is e-learning. The most prevalent form of e-learning in the present time is Apps. Individuals everywhere are opting for apps downloaded on their gadgets to gain new knowledge. Absorbing content through applications is much more comfortable as mobiles and tabs are handy.
One can undeniably say that technology has changed the world of learning. What seemed impossible a few decades back is happening every day today.