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E-learning through Virtual Field Trips - Essay Example

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Summary
Distance education is the imparting of lessons outside traditional classrooms that are location specific. Distance education is "independent of location . and maybe independent of time as well" (Neal,2004).
E-learning is a form of distance education where education is imparted over the Internet or using some other electronic means…
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E-learning through Virtual Field Trips
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Extract of sample "E-learning through Virtual Field Trips"

Download file to see previous pages Here the word 'virtual' means "delivered via the Internet" (qtd. in Lai 135) and not taken to mean that it is an unreal experience.
"VFTs involve electronic travel, via the Internet, beyond the classroom in either place or time, for the purpose of learning." (Hovell 135). By this definition, VFT can be classified as a form of e-learning.
In designing e-learning programs, the delivery of the programs can either be in the (a) synchronous mode, where using technologies such as videoconferencing, interaction with remotely located students is made possible or (b) asynchronous method, using CBTs and WBTs, students work on the lessons independently.
It is especially important to consider the merits of an e-learning program with respect to all aspects of the system - the learners, the instructors, access to technology, cost-benefit, value addition to the curriculum, intangible benefits etc. Apart from the challenges posed by virtue of being a form of distance education, e-learning warrants a different attitude to learning relying heavily on the ease of use of the underlying technology.
The "Ten Benefits of Learners" (Broadbent 31) include: understanding and recall during online discussions, caters to a wide range of learners with different learning styles, easy access to learning material independent of time and place, ...
The purpose of this paper is to:
- Introduce the basic concepts and principle of VFT
- Provide an overview of how to design a VFT by applying principles in e-learning
- Describe the LEARNZ program as working example of VFT
- Offer a conclusion regarding the value of VFT as an e-learning tool.
Basic Concepts of VFT
A Virtual Field Trip is an alternative to an actual field trip and not a substitute. VFTs offer an almost realistic experience by presenting 'an interrelated collection of images, supporting text and/or other media, delivered electronically over the World Wide Web, in a format that can be professionally presented to relate the essence of a visit .." (qtd. in Lai 136).
"Bellan & Scheurman (2001) look on virtual and actual field trips 'as complimentary components in a powerful instructional approach' to learning. VFTs can serve as preparatory pre-visit motivators.. and focus attention on things students will see on the actual field trip" (Hovell 137).
The essential components of VFT are: data collected during the trip, text used for descriptions, multimedia used for audiovisual effects and the technology that form the 'interactive components'. A logical and dynamic combination of these components, deliver the experience of an actual field trip to a location otherwise inaccessible for study to everyday learners, such the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean or the architectural marvels of the Egyptian pyramids.
The primary entities in the VFT program are: the students, the instructors, the Technology and the curriculum (the learning). Every entity in the system has an important role to play and is inter-connected with every ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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