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The nature of virtual learning environment

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a computer-based system that allows students to access learning resources and participate in learning activities online. VLEs can be used for a variety of purposes, including distance learning, blended learning, and flipped learning.

The nature of a VLE is determined by its design and the way it is used. However, there are some common characteristics that most VLEs share or some of the features of virtual learning environments. These include:

  • Affordability: VLEs can be a more affordable way to deliver education than traditional face-to-face instruction.
  • Flexibility: VLEs allow students to learn at their own pace and in their own time.
  • Accessibility: VLEs can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Interactivity: VLEs can provide students with opportunities for interaction with instructors, other students, and learning resources.
  • Personalization: VLEs can be personalized to meet the needs of individual learners.

The following are some of the benefits of using a VLE:

  • Increased access to education: VLEs can help to increase access to education for students who live in remote areas or who have other barriers to traditional face-to-face instruction.
  • Improved learning outcomes: VLEs can help to improve learning outcomes by providing students with opportunities for self-paced learning, interaction with instructors and other students, and access to a wider range of learning resources.
  • Reduced costs: VLEs can help to reduce the costs of education by eliminating the need for physical classrooms and other resources.

However, there are also some challenges associated with using a VLE:

  • Technical problems: VLEs can be susceptible to technical problems, such as website outages or software glitches.
  • Lack of social interaction: VLEs can lack the social interaction that is often found in traditional face-to-face instruction.
  • Motivation: VLEs can be challenging for students who are not self-motivated.

Overall, VLEs can be a valuable tool for teaching and learning. However, it is important to be aware of the challenges associated with using a VLE and to take steps to mitigate these challenges.

In the following, I will discuss the nature of virtual learning environments based on the three sources:

  • Beatty (2010) argues that VLEs can provide a number of benefits for language learning, including increased flexibility, access to a wider range of resources, and opportunities for interaction with other learners. However, he also points out that VLEs can be challenging for learners who are not self-motivated or who lack the technical skills necessary to use them effectively.
  • Cabero (2001) discusses the different types of VLEs that are available and the factors that should be considered when choosing a VLE for language learning. He also provides a number of suggestions for how to use VLEs effectively in language learning.
  • Jati (2018) focuses on the use of VLEs in the Indonesian context. He discusses the challenges of using VLEs in Indonesia, such as the lack of access to the internet and the low levels of computer literacy. However, he also argues that VLEs have the potential to revolutionize language learning in Indonesia.

In conclusion, the nature of virtual learning environments is complex and depends on a number of factors, including the design of the VLE, the way it is used, and the context in which it is used. However, VLEs can be a valuable tool for teaching and learning, and they have the potential to revolutionize education.

Here are some of the technical skills and pedagogical skills that teachers need to develop for preparing and designing virtual/online learning:

Technical skills

  • Understanding of basic computer hardware and software: Teachers need to be familiar with the use of computers and other electronic devices, as well as with the software that is used for online learning.
  • Ability to use learning management systems (LMS): LMSs are the platforms that are used to deliver online learning. Teachers need to be able to use LMSs to create and manage courses, as well as to interact with students.
  • Ability to create and use multimedia content: Teachers need to be able to create and use multimedia content, such as videos, podcasts, and interactive exercises. This content can be used to engage students and to make the learning experience more interactive.

Pedagogical skills

  • Ability to design effective online learning activities: Teachers need to be able to design online learning activities that are engaging and effective. This includes activities that are aligned with the learning objectives, that provide opportunities for interaction, and that are accessible to all students.
  • Ability to facilitate online discussions: Online discussions are a key way for students to interact with each other and with the teacher. Teachers need to be able to facilitate online discussions effectively, by providing clear guidance, encouraging participation, and managing the discussion.
  • Ability to assess student learning: Teachers need to be able to assess student learning in an online environment. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as quizzes, assignments, and projects.

In addition to these technical and pedagogical skills, teachers also need to be able to adapt their teaching style to the online environment. This means being able to communicate effectively in writing, being able to manage their time effectively, and being able to provide support to students who are struggling.


Beatty, K. 2010. Teaching and researching computer-assisted language learning. Pearson Education Limited.

Cabero, J. 2001. Educational technology: Design and use of media in education. Cambridge, Polite Press.

Jati, A. Gumawang. 2018. Innovations in ELT. Tangerang Selatan, Banten: Universitas Terbuka.