What Is Virtual Learning, and How Can VDI Make It Better?

Virtual learning is a mode of education in which students and teachers don’t have to be under the same roof simultaneously. It typically makes use of supporting software, computers and a network connection. In virtual learning, you can conduct educational activities synchronously—in real time—through live web classes, or asynchronously through pre-recorded lectures and electronic educational material.

Discover what virtual learning is and how using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can enhance and improve the virtual learning experience.

What is Virtual Learning – How it Differs to Traditional Learning

The main distinction between a traditional and virtual learning environment is that a traditional learning environment involves face-to-face participation in classes that are offered in a physical location, like a school. Students can access virtual learning remotely (in a virtual classroom) without physically attending classes.

What Are the Different Approaches to Virtual Learning?

Just like every other sector of life, technology has introduced a new paradigm in education as well. Information and communication technologies have created opportunities for improving the quality and expanding the reach of education. Time and place can no longer hinder education and learning. Today, there are multiple approaches whereby educational institutes can enable effective virtual learning through:

Computers (asynchronous)

In this approach, electronic study material is provided via a software application installed locally on a computer. The course material can be updated regularly, as required.

The internet (asynchronous)

The virtual learning software is hosted on a remote server instead of a local device. Students can access the software and study materials remotely through an internet connection.

Online teaching (synchronous)

Much like a traditional classroom, a teacher provides education directly, but online. The teacher doesn’t have to be physically present with the students. This method utilizes communication technologies such as video conferencing and emails.

Hybrid or blended learning

These combine traditional learning with one or more forms of virtual learning. Students can benefit from in-person lectures, tests and workshops as well as online classes and assessments or asynchronous virtual learning.

Facilitated learning

This approach redefines the role of instructors or teachers. It gives more control and independence to the students. Teachers act as facilitators or guides for providing support and resources as required.

What Are Some Advantages of Virtual Learning?

Not all students are alike, and there are circumstances under which going to a physical school is just not feasible. Take immunocompromised students for example, or slow learners who need a little more help than their peers. From the adult who can’t fit in regular classes in a busy schedule to the enthusiast who wants to take that one course from a foreign university, virtual learning presents possibilities that were unheard of previously.

Here are some of the many advantages and reasons why educational institutes should take the leap towards enabling virtual learning:

A virtual learning environment (VLE) is basically an online platform with solutions that facilitate educators in providing a better learning experience. It allows educators to store and provide study material through the internet and incorporates digital communication. It often provides support for conducting assessments, polls and quizzes online. Some VLEs can also track student participation to foster a more interactive learning environment. Today, virtual learning environments are a part of the broader learning management system (LMS) of most higher education institutes.

How Can VDI Help?

Ever since the dawn of virtual learning, educational institutes have been struggling to provide an environment similar to the on-campus experience. An important factor for successfully implementing virtual learning is a great user experience. It means providing access to academic resources, tools and software programs just as a student would get through on-campus PCs. But, there are several security concerns around open access to all internal resources. One negligent user is enough to put an institute’s entire IT infrastructure in jeopardy. That’s exactly where a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can help.

VDI solutions have come a long way in providing a similar learning experience. Deploying a VDI requires a dedicated datacenter for hosting desktop environments. Opting for cloud deployments such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) can offer greater flexibility, scalability and ease-of-management at a cheap price. The advantages of a VDI include:

Parallels Remote Application Server Improves Education IT Infrastructure

With Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS), learning and teaching are no longer confined to a classroom or lab. Parallels RAS provides the ideal solution for allowing students and staff to access the institute’s LMS and internal resources anytime, anywhere. And yet, the ultimate control lies with the IT team. IT can create and destroy virtual desktops, grant or revoke access, and manage the entire IT infrastructure centrally through a unified console. Out-of-the-box load-balancing technology ensures continuous learning without downtime. You can also implement two-factor authentication (2FA), advanced filtering, and customized policies to minimize security risks.

Experience how Parallels RAS can improve your IT infrastructure with a 30-day free trial today!

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