Virtual learning, also known as live online, instructor-led learning – has become an accepted component in the modern learning workplace blend.

Online programs are more flexible than conventional residential university experience. But catchphrases like these make students think the online study is very easy and convenient, too. While the flexibility is real, know that going to school isn’t supposed to be easy, and it’s rarely convenient.

However, it’s necessary to commence the process of choosing a program with your eyes wide open. Don’t accept the marketing spin that this will be a cakewalk. Obtaining a degree is going to take serious effort and long-term commitment.

It is also essential to know that not all programs are created equal. In fact, no two programs are precisely the same. There are broad variations in quality, format, cost, success rates, and more.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance learning is an educational method where students get instruction through online classes, video recordings, video conferencing, or any other audio/visual technology means. It allows people to get an education without having to be physically present in a classroom.

Distance learning and education are interchangeable terms. Distance learning is not a modern phenomenon.

The origins of distance learning can be traced back to the advent of the recent postal system and the mass production of printed publications, which made it possible to spread information swiftly throughout the world.

Why Distance Learning?

Distance learning has made education more available to broader groups of people. It is a convenient way to acquire work experience while achieving college or other vocational training. Several organizations, such as the military, large corporations, and government agencies depend on distance education to train service members and employees.

Undoubtedly, education or specialized training is a necessity for most highly paid jobs. The availability of the Internet has improved the number of online courses. Online colleges offer these courses.

Who Uses Distance Learning?

Most schools in Nigeria today are taking advantage of distance learning programs. Working professionals, high school students, and even traditional college students register in distance learning classes. Companies and other organizations often use distance learning programs to train employees.

The following are some of the reasons people register in distance learning programs:

What technology is used for online distance learning?

Different types of technology are used to improve online learning. Special computer programs, high-speed Internet, and webcam broadcasting technology are just a few of the advanced technologies used in distance learning.

As a result, learning chances that never existed for people living in distance or rural areas can receive a college education or specialized job training. It’s not unusual for a student living in a rural region of South Dakota to achieve a course offered by a college in California.

Students often interact with teachers and other students using video conferencing, satellite, and Internet technology.

Choosing a Distance Learning School

Distance learning has existed for centuries through traditional mail and other creative means, but online education is still a relatively new field. Even though the technology is different, the educational mission and academic standards are the same as in traditional education: providing quality education.

Several online schools do specifically that, while others are only degree mills or outright frauds. And of course, there’s plenty of variety in the middle.

As you explore for online schools, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for, and what to look out for.

Below are some parameters to help you determine the best online school for you.

Accreditation

Accreditation is the primary and most crucial aspect of any school. Make sure a proper association-preferably a regional association-has accredited the school you’re investigating. This will guarantee that it is meeting academic qualifications and that other institutions will accept the credits you gain.

Attending a school without proper accreditation will not only cause you headaches in college but with future employers as well.

You also need to check that the accrediting agency is legit.

Quality of Faculty

Distance education is more independent than attending a physical classroom with other students, but having good teachers is still important. Go online and study the faculty of any school you’re looking at. How much education and experience do the teachers have? etc.

Degree Programs

As with every school, you need to study the academic programs at an online school and ensure they line up with your purposes for higher education.

Does this school offer associate degrees or professional certification? If so, do other institutions of higher education acknowledge them? This is important, especially if you plan on continuing on to a four-year university.

Understand the Requirements and Schedule

It is also wise to understand the academic qualifications and the class schedule before you commit to an online program.

In distance education, these factors can differ widely from program to program.

How much is tuition and are there any concealed fees or extra costs?

Distance education is a powerful and competitive market, and cost and quality don’t always match up.

If you’ve started your search with a particular school, extend it by looking at other schools with similar tuition. Analyze the quality and variety of degrees, experience of the teachers, and feedback from former and current students.

Basically, Online college should cost a little less than attending a traditional college or university. If you’re looking at a specific online school, do a cost matching with other colleges in your area.

Bottom line: expect to pay a decent amount for decent quality online education, and understand that courses will vary in format and quality.

Hardware, Software and Textbooks

Most online schools have basic necessities when it comes to computers. You won’t require a supercomputer, just something that is relatively up-to-date and able to handle word processing and typical online activity. In the case of some specialized courses, you’ll require expensive hardware, but not for most classes.

The software will normally be provided free of charge.

In some cases, you will require to buy software for the class, which can differ widely in price. The same with textbooks. Make sure you know the cost measure for software and textbooks. They can add up fast.

Criteria

Distance education has a different delivery method than traditional education, but the purpose remains the same. So do the academic standards. Use the same guidelines you would for a physical college, just in a different context. If an online school is right for you, it should stand up to the test.

Choosing a Distance Learning Program

Since more students are enrolling in distance learning programs, those who want to enroll in one should be careful when selecting a program. Not all programs offer high-quality education.

Many institutions are cashing in on this need for distance learning by offering programs that are sub-par or non-accredited. Therefore, those looking for a distance learning program should conduct thorough research before selecting one.

Know What You’re Paying For

Along the same lines, it’s essential to know what you’re paying for before you buy. If you’re enrolling in a completely online program, this comes into play before you enroll. Do your research.

US News offers an independent ranking of entirely online programs, with in-depth reviews of the top programs.

Know What’s Expected of You

Take the time to find out what will be required of you, then evaluate whether you are able to give that kind of time—before you buy.

Have a Plan

If your ultimate goal is a degree, then taking an online class here or there because the content seems interesting or useful isn’t a solid plan. Instead, you need to design a plan that leads to your goal.

The good news is you shouldn’t require to go it alone. You should have access to a faculty advisor or coach who can help you craft this plan. If your prospective online college can’t offer you this kind of guidance, consider that a red flag.

Know Your Way Around a Computer

You must not be a technology expert to make online college work, but you do require to be conversant You may need to brush up on your computer skills before diving into online education.

Realize That Convenient Doesn’t Mean Easy

Online classes and degree programs offer a measure of convenience that a traditional residential program can’t equal. The ability to watch lectures from anywhere and on your own timetable is indispensable for some. But don’t ever think that an online program will be easier than an in-person one. Quality online programs are just as harsh as their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Ensure Your Credits Will Transfer Before Enrolling

Whether you intend to earn your degree from the online or the traditional university, be certain that all your needed credits will transfer. Do this before enrolling online.

MOOCs Are No Substitute for Traditional Online Courses

Student Success

You want your diploma to be the key to future opportunities, not just a piece of paper. Other than accreditation, how can you better know what your degree can accomplish for you?

Start by studying student success. Quality programs will display their student successes.

They may exhibit high boards passing percentages in a nursing program, above-average med school acceptance rates, or a percentage of prospective graduates hired before graduation.

These statistics don’t assure you about your dream job, of course, but they do recommend which programs and schools are high in quality.

Conversely, investigate graduation/completion rates and rate of student loan defaults. Graduation rates are easily obtainable, and the higher, the better.

What Makes a Good Online Class?

Not all online classes are equal. Sadly, there’s a whole heap of shoddily produced, bore-you-to-tears classes out there that, in the end, just don’t give quality education.

On the other hand, there are some truly motivational, engaging, and educational classes that actually live up to the potential of distance learning. Most of these schools selected e-learning platforms that helped them achieved their learning goals effectively.

Here are a few key factors that make all the difference in the quality of online courses:

1) Proper Pacing

The best online courses are the ones that are properly paced. Proper pacing means the student is neither bored nor overwhelmed; they have plenty of time and notice-to finished large projects, but also are kept engaged by small assignments in the interval. These small assignments should never pile up and bury the student in stress and anxiety, nor should they be pointless tedious busywork.

2) Multimedia Integration

The very exciting part of online classes is the fact that they can present content in ways that books and lectures can’t. Great online courses set up on e-learning platforms like the Pinnacle LMS take advantage of this fact and incorporate different multimedia elements into the presentation, such as videos, podcasts, interactive activities, and more.

3) Quality Content

When a course’s content is of great quality, you find yourself engaged and interested, and as a result, you learn much more naturally.

4) Self-Directed Learning

The best online classes know that their students are adults who are able to make up their own minds and take responsibility for their own education. Good online courses give students the privilege to create their own projects and examine the aspects of the subject which are most interesting to them

5) Community Connection

One of the biggest risks that online courses face is a sense of student isolation. Great online courses fight this risk by supporting online interaction between students and faculty.

6) Multiple Learning Modalities

Everyone learns differently. Some students are so visually oriented; others need to hear information out loud to retain it. The best online courses integrate as many learning modalities as possible–visual, auditory, kinesthetic, musical, and so on–into the presentation. This way, students are able to study in a way that works best for them.

Luckily for schools, under Pinnacle School Management Solution, we have the Learning Lab that integrates different learning modalities for different students.

7) Intuitive Navigation

The layout of the course should be clear and simple to follow. Students should always know what to do next, and should always know how to access important information and resources.

8) Reliable Technology

Many courses, in an attempt to be flashy or stylish, use a host of technologies in their presentation, often wanting students to download a dozen new plug-ins or sign up for outside services. The best courses use only technologies that are as reliable and as universally supported as possible.

9) Room for Additional Exploration

Great online courses provide curious students with resources that provide additional information and a greater depth of detail. The key is to clearly differentiate the core class specifications from the additional resources, so students know exactly what they expect them to do, and what choices are available.

10) Creative Design

The best courses are created to give students a varied and fresh learning experience week after week. The best courses are created by people who put careful thought and focused effort towards creating a unique and pleasant class experience, from start to finish.

Introducing Pinnacle School Management Solution

Pinnacle School Management Solution Application is a card technology solution that seeks to serve educational institutions, students, and parents. Our mission is to make it simple and inexpensive for any institute to have a state-of-the-art IDcard program – without proprietary software, local systems, or dedicated staff.

We provide the only turn-key card management solution, delivering superior capability, service, and performance for less than half the cost of locally-hosted card systems and management models.

FAQs on Virtual Learning

What is virtual learning?

Specifically, virtual learning uses computer software, the Internet, or both to deliver instruction to students. This minimizes or eliminates the need for teachers and students to share a classroom.

What do you do in an online school?

Online schools have virtual classes that students can take from home or a library or a coffee shop or anywhere else that has an Internet connection.

How do virtual classrooms work?

A virtual classroom is an online teaching and learning environment where teachers and students can present course materials, engage and interact with one another, and work in groups together.

How long is a day of online school?

On average, you can expect for your student to spend on average four hours a day to complete his or her online school work.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Virtual learning is simply a learning experience that is enhanced by utilizing computers and/or the internet both outside and inside the facilities of the educational organization.

The instruction most commonly takes place in an online environment. That’s why Pinnacle Learning Management Solution is the future of learning in Nigerian Schools an beyond.

References

https://www.thelpi.org/data-papers-press/complete-guide-virtual-classroom/

Virtual learning environment – Wikipedia

Online Learning – What Is It And How Does It Work?