As we hear the word 'classroom' we form a picture of neatly aligned desks arranged in columns and rows and a teacher writing on a board, demonstrating the difficult concepts while the students try to understand, in our mind. Well, the scenario is a bit different in the case of the virtual classroom. The acceptance and demand for virtual classrooms have taken giant strides over the years. The virtual classrooms are the essence of online degree programs and courses — a comfortable and conducive central place where the university courses unfold.
The virtual classrooms let the students learn according to their suitability and comfort and in more specific ways they are best at without losing the integrity or quality of the study material. Therefore, whether the student is a linguistic learner, logical learner, bodily learner, spatial learner, intrapersonal or interpersonal learner, or musical learner, virtual classrooms have the potential to cater to the individual learning needs of the student.
In the present times, alongside the lockdown situation as a result of coronavirus pandemic, academic activities of every educational institution, across the world, came to a grinding halt and the negative effect of the same is broadly visible among the learners.
It is very fortunate that the technology advancements in the modern-day world provide the scope for creating the virtual classroom by establishing links between the teachers with learners across the world. A virtual classroom provides an online learning environment that enables teachers and students to interact, communicate, share, and explain ideas, and collaborate. In addition to that, a virtual classroom also allows students to approach quality teachers anywhere in the world as long as they both have a stable internet connection. The idea of virtual classrooms can combat the majority of the common obstructions to synchronous learning: distance, cost, and timing.
A virtual classroom provides an online classroom environment that allows students and teachers to interact and come together to share ideas and knowledge. Generally, virtual classrooms are an element of the whole cloud-based learning solutions which is composed within the larger learning management systems (LMS). Another essential advantage of the idea of virtual classrooms is that they are extremely customizable and are approachable to learners on several varieties of devices, like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Furthermore, virtual classrooms consist of two kinds of scenarios, that is asynchronous and synchronous virtual learning. In the case of asynchronous virtual learning, a learner can go through ready-made uploaded learning resources, which is essentially a self-paced tutorial course based on lessons. Also, learners have the opportunity to interact with other learners via discussions in the discussion forums and chat rooms. At last, the educators or facilitators assess the learning outcomes, grade the assignments, and give students feedback.
Whereas in the case of synchronous virtual learning, it is an instructor-led classroom and the instructor and the learners interact online at the same time. In synchronous virtual learning, lessons are carried out in real-time at a particular date and time. Virtual classrooms utilize online whiteboards, video conferencing, and screen sharing to allow educators to hold live lectures and discussions with students in an interactive setting. Contrasting with the asynchronous virtual learning environments, the synchronous virtual classroom enables immediate feedback, direct teacher-student interaction, and creative and engaging activities to escalate the active participation and motivation of the learners. In addition, immediate communication also supports relationship building within the teacher, group, as well as a sense of community.
Basically, virtual classrooms are designed in a way to replicate the experience of physical classrooms, with the additional benefits of instant feedback, file sharing, and interaction, and are ideal in distance learning circumstances. Bringing up the rear, the virtual classroom offers plenty of opportunities, specifically when joined with self-study platforms (learning management systems) or when used in extension with the traditional classroom learning activities.
In the scenario of virtual classrooms, it is accustomed or common for educators and learners to work with each other and with the complete industry. The virtual learning settings offer a wide range of access to synthesizing and blending with various cultures, which ultimately provides a great opportunity for both educators and learners, to interact with different people around the world and adapt various outstanding techniques of learning from all over the world.
Although, the educators and learners are physically miles apart the range of exposure that a virtual classroom offer goes far beyond their virtual class period. This is highly fortunate for all the learners across the world that the idea of virtual classrooms just doesn't center their knowledge on the place they are in and expands it to the knowledge of the world. Learning and gaining wisdom in the 21st century enabled by the internet and technology is really reaching beyond four walls and even beyond the longitude and latitude, one exists in.