Virtual Learning Environments
The multiplicity of visions of the concept of virtual learning environments produced a number of perceptions and mental concepts of that concept, so they were called electronic learning environments, and they are also called interactive learning environments, interactive web_based learning environments, virtual learning environments, environments, or virtual reality environments, due to this. To how each researcher used this concept, as the concept of the virtual environment has several different meanings and connotations in terms of idiomatic and procedural terms, due to its dependence on the educational contexts in which it is used. With an in-depth look at these definitions, it was found that each definition focused on a specific aspect or angle and neglected after the other aspects.
Definition of virtual learning environments:
Some writings and research have developed the concept in the light of the environment’s goals, function and description. Some studies focused on the definition to highlight the process of communication, sharing and interaction that takes place between teachers and learners and learning resources within the environment. Some studies and research formulated the definition in light of the programs, tools and applications used in designing And building the environment and presenting the educational content, and some of them focused on the design standards on which the environment is based, and others from the literature and studies cared in formulating it to define the skills and experiences that the student goes through within the environment, and despite the multiplicity and diversity of starting points, foundations and philosophies of definition of the virtual learning environment, but it does not come out Two main directions:
The first approach: it is a system that includes a set of goals and components:
The owners of this approach believe that the virtual learning environment is an online educational system that includes a set of components (teacher, learner, and content) and has several functions. It seeks to achieve a set of educational goals, and enables different learners to interact directly and indirectly through electronic communication tools. Appropriate support for content integration, and provides all the resources and tools that the teacher or lecturer can use in easy and simple ways.
The second approach: it considers it a set of tools, applications and services:
The owners of this approach believe that the virtual learning environment is the free use of a group of teaching and learning tools, applications and services that work to provide programs and curricula electronically via the computer and the Internet, and this is done through the process of synchronous and asynchronous communication, and this software in turn provides a set of teaching tools and means Which aims to serve the student and the teacher and enhance the learning process, in addition to the employment of Internet services and the characteristics of electronic communications. To provide the learner with a number of skills and experiences that they cannot obtain in traditional environments.
It can be said that those of the first orientation who focused on formulating the concept of the environment as a system that includes a set of goals, components and functions: it was hidden from them that the goal of the system, its function and its components change from time to time and from one category to another category of learners, and they also missed that the function changes with the development of technology And the emergence of many technological innovations and applications. As for the supporters of the second trend: who focused on formulating the concept of the virtual environment as a set of tools, applications and services used in designing and building the environment. They have neglected the requirements and needs of the target educational group, and have overlooked the psychological and emotional aspects of it. They also missed that tools, applications and services are constantly changing with the development of technology and the emergence of many technological innovations and applications.
After this review, it can be said that the two opinions are subject to discussion and give and take on the concept of the educational virtual environment: namely, that the concept of virtual learning environments consists of two concepts or two main dimensions: (education) and includes all teaching and learning processes that occur in any educational system, and the second (technology). It is related to the tools, software and technological applications used in designing the environment, delivering educational content, and managing communication and interaction processes through computers and networks. Therefore, a comprehensive definition of the virtual environment is important to include the two dimensions and not be limited to one without the other.