Developing Authentic and Virtual E-Learning Environments
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As part of their learning process, students often need to understand and interact with real world processes. Traditional learning activities such as field trips, site visits, videos, visiting speakers and live interviews have been used to achieve this. Because of various practical, legal and political issues, such activities can be difficult or even impossible to organise. E-learning can play a vital role in providing suitable and effective learning environments to enhance the knowledge and skills of students. Such an environment can provide a virtual interface to a real-world scenario or process. Students need to make decisions and receive responses in a highly interactive exchange. An e-learning environment must also be authentic, providing the student with meaningful and realistic information and scenarios that represent real world processes in a practical manner. The work being presented in this paper describes the virtual e-learning developments, experiences and evaluations that have been undertaken by the Department of Spatial Sciences at Curtin University across a number of projects. The Virtual Online Learning (VOL) project outcomes included a range of online and virtual modules in the spatial sciences ? geographic information science (GISc), global positioning systems (GPS), cartography and surveying. The Virtual Industry Link Learning Environment (VILLE) project is developing interactive virtual site visits that interact with industry practitioners and emulate tours of processing facilities.The aim is to provide stimulating and interactive learning environments that adequately prepare a student for real world conditions.
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