As we talked about in the previous lesson, online services are an integral part of our modern lives and we make use of them every day.
We also looked at four online services. These were communication, real-time information, commerce and government services.
In this lesson we will learn about five more categories of online services. These are:
- Virtual Learning Environment
1. Education Services
Education is a big growth area in online services. It concerns the use of the internet for learning and training. This could be used for distance learning degrees, exam preperation or health & safety training for a new job.
There are more and more online education websites appearing all the time, you’re using an online education service right now, KnowItAll Ninja!
Common types of education services include:
- Online learning websites – used to help students study for particular courses or learn new skills, such as studying for your GCSE exams. They can also be used for other things such as distance learning to gain professional qualifications or a degree. This makes it easier to access courses that might not be taught near you and also lets you learn at your own pace.
- Online training services – used to help you to learn work based skills such as induction training for a new job or completing specific work based tasks correctly. This can be more cost effective for a business than having their own internal training and also allows you to work at your own pace.
Can you think of any other online learning or training sites?
Have you ever used one? What did you like about it?
2. Virtual Learning Environments
Virtual learning environments, often called VLEs, are another category of online service.
A VLE provides a virtual classroom online that lets teachers and their students communicate and share resources. Your school or college likely uses a VLE, the most popular being Moodle & Blackboard.
You can use it to access the presentations and worksheets your teacher used in lesson, to submit work to your teacher for marking, and to receive the feedback from your teacher after they have marked your work.
This saves a lot of money from printing and lets students access lesson resources even from home.
Does your school/college have a VLE?
What does your school use the VLE for? How does this help you & the college?
3. Business Services
Business services involve the use of websites and the internet to make common business functions quicker and cheaper to perform.
These services also allow for employees to work more flexibly such as with teleworking.
Common types of business services include:
- Video conferencing – this lets us organise and run meetings with people based all around the world, without having to travel. Skype is a very well-known video conferencing tool. This saves time and money on travelling to hold meetings with people based in other locations.
- Collaborative working – allows us to work together on a document with multiple other people at the same time. We often use this alongside video conferencing so we can talk while working on the same document. Much like video conferencing this can allow employees to work together without being on the same site and so saves time and money on travel.
- Online business networks – allows us to make connections with people working in the same industry and helps us to find new clients by communicating with them and sharing ideas over the internet. This helps people to make good business contacts that can support the business.
Have you ever had a group conversation on Skype or worked collaboratively on a document? Why did you decide to do it online?
Could you have done it face to face rather than online?
4. Entertainment Services
Entertainment services are one of the biggest uses of online services and one that many of us use on a daily basis in our modern lives.
It involves the use of the internet for having fun and for our own leisure.
Common types of entertainment services include:
- Online multi-user games – these are extremely popular, such as online first person shooters & role playing games. Games such as Call of Duty & Warcraft are popular games played online by millions of people. This gives you access to a worldwide gaming audience to compete with, rather just playing with your local friends.
- Online radio players – along with music & video streaming services, this allows us to listen to the latest music and tv shows from wherever we are. Services like Apple Music, Spotify & Pandora are examples of this. This allows people to access a much larger variety of music than they would be able to with physical copies without spending a huge amount of money.
What online entertainment services do you use in your daily life?
What do you enjoy about these services?
5. Download Services
Download services involves the transferring of files over the internet to a person’s computer.
They are a controversial area of online services as they are often used for sharing music, tv & films illegally, so called copyright piracy. However they are used just as often for correct legal use and are an extremely useful service that we often use.
Common types of download services include:
- Music & film downloading – services such as iTunes allows you to purchase music & films and download it to your device, which could be your PC, tablet or smartphone. If you change devices for any reason you can redownload your music or film to your new device. It also lets you buy music and film without leaving home which is quicker and saves travel costs.
- Software & games downloading – this is also growing in popularity now that superfast broadband connections are more readily available. Steam is a service that allows you to buy and download PC games. This has very similar benefits to music & film downloading.
- Software upgrades – these can be downloaded to ensure you are running the latest version of the software and any security issues are fixed quickly. This has become more and more important with the growth of the internet as more security threats in software are identified. Thanks to the ability to quickly download upgrades and patches these security holes can be fixed as quickly as they are identified.
Have you ever downloaded music, films, software or games?
Why did you download it rather than order a physical copy online or buy it in the shops?
Teleworking – working from home and using modern technologies, such as video conferencing & email, to keep in touch with your colleagues, customers and central office.
Copyright piracy – the unauthorised copying, sale or use of copyrighted work such as music, film & software.
So to summarise what we’ve learnt in this lesson:
- We use online services for education such as online learning and online training. This allows us to work at our own pace and gives us access to more training opportunities.
- We also use online services for virtual learning environments, which are also known as VLEs, and are like a virtual classroom to allow teachers and students to communicate.
- We use online services for business such as video conferencing, collaborative working and business networks. These allow us to work more flexibly and save time and money that would be spent on travel.
- We use online services for entertainment such as multi-user games, radio players and video streaming. These give us access to a wider group of people to play games with and gives us access to more music choices than traditional radio.
- Finally, we use online services for downloading such as music, film, software & upgrades. This gives us quick access to these without needing to travel to a store to buy a physical copy.
- This adds to the four services we learnt in the previous lesson of communication, real-time information, commerce & government services.