Virtual Learning Environments

Which Virtual Learning Environment Tools Should You Include in Your Online Courses to Help Students Learn on Their Own?

Virtual learning environments promote learning objectives across the internet. The latest software simulates classroom-based education and accommodates students who want to take control of their learning. Here are some virtual learning environment tools that help your students learn on their own.

1. Games

Research shows that games improve retention and engagement. Students can play games on virtual learning environments and learn theories and concepts in an innovative way. Game-based digital learning platforms also increase memory capacity and encourage students to make fewer mistakes.

Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults believe most or some video games develop problem-solving and strategic thinking skills, according to a study from the Pew Research Center [1]. Moreover, 47 percent of adults think most or some video games foster teamwork and communication skills. If you want to improve your students’ soft skills, encourage them to play educational games on a virtual learning platform.

2. Content Management

Virtual learning environments are a great way to keep valuable student resources in one place. Most colleges and universities have separate systems for content management. Learning providers might keep books in the library, study guides in the faculty’s office and lecture notes on the college intranet. Virtual learning platforms, however, centralize documents, providing students with speedy access to all core materials. This benefits students on higher education courses who are unable to travel to their college or university.

3. Multimedia

Virtual learning environments allow you to store a wide range of multimedia for online course development. You can upload images and documents, for example. Some software even comes with access control features, so you can manage which students and staff access sensitive content.

Virtual learning platforms are also a great place to host your video content. That’s because videos are highly effective when it comes to learning. Research shows people only remember 20 percent of what they read and process visuals 60,000 times faster than regular text [2].

“Video is a medium that engages viewers from multiple senses — sight and sound — and can generate excitement about a subject or concept,” says the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte [3]. “Students will enjoy the experience and retain more information from the class.”

4. Forums

Internet discussion groups originated in the late ’70s. In recent years, more schools have used this technology to bridge the gap between students and teachers. “[A forum] creates opportunities for students to practice and sharpen a number of skills, including the ability to articulate and defend positions, consider different points of view and create in-depth reflective responses,” says Angie Portacio, writing for the University of San Francisco’s blog [4]. “[It] gives all students a voice, especially those who are normally quiet in a classroom environment, need more time to compile their thoughts or want to avoid a conflict or disagreement.”

A virtual learning environment lets students ask you questions and exchange information with their peers. This is one of the most effective digital communication methods. It provides students with a place to discuss course-related subjects, even if they live far away from their college or university.

The four virtual learning environment tools on this list encourage your students to learn on their own. These online course enhancements let students master complicated concepts and access study materials with minimal intervention from a human teacher.