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Virtual environments are around us all the time, because there are available in every artifact of daily use likecell phones, cameras, tablets, computers, etc, that allow us to surf on the net whenever and wherever we want to do so.
When talking about learning environments it can be a little bit complicated to define exactly which those special spaces are, some people say that they are spaces designed with pedagogical purposes only, for example: blogs, online books, Wikipedia, etc., others claim that virtual environments are special platforms designed to deliver instruction such as: wiziq, blackboard collaborates, moodle, etc.
However, some authors like Dillenbourg P., Schneider D., and Synteta, P (2002) explain in their article Virtual Learning Environments, which virtual learning environments are not “restricted to well-structured information spaces” and “The representation of the learning environment ranges from text-based interfaces”, and what makes a web page a virtual learning environment is the social interaction about the information. So basically, all the elements to create a virtual learning environment are already in the web, but it is the teacher the one who puts everything together to give it a pedagogical purpose.
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It is then when the teacher plays his/her role as a moderator. The moderator is the one who set the goals for every virtual activity and the one who decides which resources are going to be used and how they are going to be used as well. Besides, he/she is the one who decides the type of interaction that is going to be among students- medium- professor, and should be able to overcome any issue that could appear in the last minute. If the moderator has no idea of what his/her role is the learning potential of any activity can be lost.
Despite the fact that, there are several specialized platforms designed to provide the proper tools to teach on the web, is the moderator who creates the perfect environment in order to let the learning process occur. Then, it can be said that it is the teacher who transforms the web sites into teaching tools.
Here there is another description of VLE: