The Advantages and Trials of Effectively Introducing a VLE at a University in Saudi Arabia Name Institution Course Instructor Date 1.) INTRODUCTION The issue of integration of technology into the teaching process is a crucial part of future development in the teaching and learning process…
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A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a software program devised to facilitate instructors in the management of courses for their students. It aims at helping students and teachers with course administration. It can also track the student’s progress which can be monitored by both the learners and instructors. VLEs are mostly viewed as being helpful in distance learning but in practice they are equally beneficial in supplementing face-to-face classroom. Typically, the application of VLEs enables the users to easily upload their materials and resources, offers an integrated set of internet tools and provides a consistent look and feel that can be customized by the user. Therefore, the employment of technology to support learning is largely prevailed by the use of VLEs. In this paper, the main concern will be how VLE has been used in EFL teaching and how it can be employed in EFL studies at the University of Ha’il. EFL (English as a Foreign Language) courses among a variety of other courses offered in institutions of higher education, have witnessed changes in the recent years which include high enrollment rates, increasing diversity of students and less resources. In addition, EFL courses are likely to be enrolling students who are mature, possessing other qualifications other than the already existing A-levels or at times studying part time (M.Owen, 2000). These students have different backgrounds, preferences and skills in the way they learn. Moreover, these students have expectations of studying current and new trends in technology. In the United States, for example, the EFL population has been raising over the past years (K. Sharma, 2010). Therefore, the language need of EFL and ESL students have prompted teachers to devise new and innovative methods of educating these students. The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) have come up with accessibility standards that will apply to EFL and ESL students. They argued that all EFL students should have access to services provided by their institutions, should be given appropriate curriculum, and have equitable and fair assessments. They should also be offered a positive learning environment. Recently, a majority of EFL tutors have chosen VLE as an aid in meeting and satisfying the above standards. In EFL pedagogical issues are more common in the employment of technology. Pedagogical content knowledge focuses on the strategies used in teaching, that is, those strategies that bring about the best learning experience for every learner. It involves learning different teaching approaches that make the learning process more suitable to the students. In this case, the tutor should be flexible in adjusting instructions to cater for the various learning styles, interests and abilities. The major essence of pedagogical studies is to know how to best teach a concept so that the learners will receive the best learning experience. The different teaching approaches employed may differ from one tutor to the other (Salmon, 2005). In EFL courses, teachers can use pedagogical studies and include technology knowledge. This is referred to as technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). The development of TPCK by tutors is crucial to effective teaching with technology. EFL teachers are emphasized in TPCK since they are viewed as autonomous agents with the power to significantly
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