David E. Gray, (University of Surrey, UK) [D.E.Gray@surrey.ac.uk]
Malcolm Ryan (University of Greenwich, UK) [M.Ryan@gre.ac.uk]
Arnaud Coulon (Algora, France) [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Virtual classroom. The Virtual Classroom is a teaching and learning environment located within a computer-mediated communication system. The objectives of a Virtual Classroom are to improve access to advanced educational experiences by allowing students and instructors to participate in remote learning communities using personal computers at home or at work; and to improve the quality and effectiveness of education by using the computer to support a collaborative learning process. It can be either didactic or more student-centred dependent upon the approach adopted by the designer or teacher/trainer.
Tele-teaching. Tele-teaching denotes the spatial distribution of teachers and students who are connected via fast computer networks and who communicate synchronously or asynchronously for learning purposes. It can be more teacher/trainer centred than other forms of learning relying upon the technology to deliver content in a 'didactic' manner, in essence it can be considered as remote teaching.
Blended learning. The integration of Internet resources and tools into teaching and learning in order to exploit the potential of Information and Communication Technologies alongside traditional face-to-face (f2f) teaching. Citing Epic Learning it is, the synergy of live instructor-led classes and live online coaching with proven self-study programs, hands-on labs, and a network of outside resources. Essentially then it is the blending of technology in all its forms (not just the Internet) with traditional learning, teaching and training practices.
Collaborative learning. In collaborative and cooperative learning students usually work together in groups of two or more in some way to aid their learning. These are usually face-to-face groups but, with the rapid expansion and availability of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, chat rooms and discussion groups this can also be done effectively at a distance. The technology is important only insofar as it facilitates the collaborative process. Groups may be tasked with achieving certain outcomes (products) or may be engaged in a process-oriented task, the objective of which is simply to work effectively in a group or team.
Supported self-learning. This can extend from the drawing up of a contract between a tutor/trainer and learner in which the parties agree what and how learning will be achieved to an individual accessing a wide range of resources in order to meet very individual learning/training needs. These resources may include both physical and electronic in the form of learning objects, web sites, structured learning programmes, etc. The all-important characterising element of this model is the nature of the support. It may be in the form of a person (e.g. Mentor, Coach, Tutor) or a set of materials containing perhaps a set of suggested activities or targets or some form of 'scaffolding' to 'support' the learner in achieving the desired outcomes.