Stands for "Virtual Learning Environment." A VLE is a virtual classroom that allows teachers and students to communicate with each other online. Class information, learning materials, and assignments are typically provided via the Web. Students can log in to the class website to view this information and may also download assignments and required reading materials to their computers. Some VLEs even allow assignments and tests to be completed online.
In a virtual classroom, the teacher may communicate with the students in real-time using video or Web conferencing. This type of communication is typically used for giving lectures and for question and answer sessions. If the teacher only needs to send out a homework assignment, he or she can simply post a bulletin on the class website. The students may also receive an e-mail notification letting them know a new assignment has been posted. If class members have questions about the homework, they can participate in online forums or submit individual questions to the teacher.
Virtual learning environments are a popular method of e-learning, which refers to learning through electronic means. While a VLE cannot fully replace the traditional classroom, it can be a useful way of teaching students who reside in many different locations.