Exploring the Potential of Virtual Learning in an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Environment

Atif Farooq Solangi, Moiz Uddin Ahmed, Shahid Hussain, Muhammad Daud Khattak

Abstract


Virtual Learning is an emerging model in a distance mode of education. Due to advancement in technology, the concept of virtual learning has also prevailed in the job industry specially in the form of electronic internship or simply e-internship. It is not only providing opportunities for employers and employees but there are many challenges that are arising due to technology competency of interns in a remote learning environment. The concept is new in the developing countries like Pakistan and therefore, this research has been conducted with aim to investigate the basic ICT skills of students of the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Pakistan, which is the largest and oldest distant learning institute of Pakistan and is the most relevant with the concept of virtual learning environment. A survey was conducted to evaluate student’s skills on the usage of operating systems, office automation tools, graphic animation tools and social networking tools. The survey results show that the students have requisite level of skills to precipitate in different tasks of virtual learning or e-internship. They are fully capable to use operating systems, office automation tools and graphic animation tools. They are also used to participate in group work through social networking tools. The results are encouraging as the Anova for regression model is showing significant role of these variables in virtual learning.

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