Virtual learning is defined as a system, which applies the use of technology, based products such as computer hardware and software. Such systems are widely used by teachers and instructors in institutions facilitating the teaching and easing the learning processes for the students by making learning processes relational and exciting to the surroundings. Virtual learning is estimated to have begun in the period around 1728 whereby Caleb Phillips who was described as a teacher of the new shorthand method. He was of the opinion that individuals who were interested in learning the art could have the several lessons sent to them similar to those who were available physically in Boston. Such enabled interactions between the teachers irrespective of the distance separating the instructors from the students (Ellaway, Dewthurst, & McLeod, 2004).
Another significant event, which facilitated the evolution in the field of virtual teaching and learning, was the development of the (PLATO) Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. This has enabled students to access course content form the use of the internet irrespective of their locations and distance form the instructors and learning institutions. This has lead to the development of new technologies over the past few years due to the rapid technological advancements. Technological advancements over the decades from the initial development of automated technologies in learning and teaching activities have transformed the educational world for the better. Essentially student interests, interactions and development, were the main drivers of the need to develop these forms of technology to cultivate interest in learning for the students (Ellaway et al., 2004).
The students are able to accrue self-drive as they are driven by individual needs to access the platforms for learning to stay in line with the evolving world, as well as the labor market. In the contemporary world with the presence of numerous learning technologies, students are able to interact with numerous individuals from different nationalities, ethnicities and of varied intellectual levels. Such benefits have also increased the attractiveness of these new models of learning and teaching, as students are able to ensure that they interact with others students and instructors in the learning process. Furthermore, this has increased levels of interest of students in education as they enjoy the new forms of learning aided by the technological advancements. This has led to new forms of virtual learning such as the Computer Assisted Instruction models, Computer Based Training; Computer managed Instruction and Course Management Systems among other forms of learning (Moore, Deane-Dickson, & Galyen, 2011).
Virtual learning is evolving as this form of learning is gaining worldwide acceptance by the teachers and the students because of the ability of this models to encourage student interactions, development and cultivation of interest in learning. Virtual learning has increased the need by the technology enthusiasts to develop and come up with new ways of learning virtually. Hence, the world of virtual learning is on the verge of additional changes given the presence of technological advancements around the world. Hence, the learning and teaching process are bound to get easier and highly interactive of the students and instructors (Moore et al., 2011).
The development of these new forms of learning are bound to revolutionize the world of learning because of the presence of enthusiasm to develop highly efficient and interactive forms of virtual learning models. Such models could increase the ability of the students to understand their roles as students as well as increased ability to understand information form the learning processes. The future is unpredictable in terms of the envisioned technological advancements given the recent and rapid technological advancements leading up to the current world. However, the future is bound with surprises because of the trends in technological advancements. Hence, the future is bound to have highly sophisticated virtual learning models.
Ellaway, R. Dewthurst, D. & McLeod, H. (2004). Evaluating a virtual learning environment in the context of its community practice. Research in Learning Technology, 12(2), 126-145.
Moore, L. J., Deane-Dickson, C., & Galyen, K. (2011). E-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? Internet and Higher Education, 14(1), 129-135.