First things first.
Do you even know what a Virtual Learning Environment or VLE is?
Put simply, it’s a purpose-built secure online teaching and learning space. In real terms it’s where you go to access your distance learning courses, materials, and – in the case of ours – interact directly with fellow-students and your tutor.
In effect it’s your college or university in cyberspace. Pretty cool. You don’t have to physically go there. No transportation requirements, no long commute in stinking traffic, no virus-infested crowds, no flesh-and-blood people. Safe, secure, and available – or shut off – at the click of a mouse
In the case of some courses we offer, where there is a need for physical interaction (such as some assessment courses) the VLE doesn’t replace the classroom or workplace, it enhances it. The VLE adds value as it extends or augments the space of the physical learning environment. As such, VLE’s also provide opportunities to stretch the imaginations of teachers and students alike.
In real terms, virtual learning environments are carefully designed online ‘locations’ (actually a tiny portion of a remote server’s hard drive or SSD) that mimic architecturally sophisticated buildings. Think of a college staff common room where the untidy desk covered in coffee-stained assessments and lesson plans move onto your laptop. Tutors
move effortlessly between assessment, feedback, sharing and monitoring without knocking over their coffee in the process.
Students get assessments marked and returned swiftly through the ether, completely clear of coffee stains.
A virtual learning environment provides an elegantly designed space for teaching and learning, and a place where learners, assessors and tutors are at ease. In the iLearnitEasy VLE provided by EducateQA, we encourage growth and interaction between all participants to help create an online community. A community that is safe, supportive and fun, where peer support is as valuable as direct assistance from your tutor.
Far from being an anti-social space that replaces real life, iLearn enhances the social space of a classroom. It unlocks potential for discussion andenables learners to submit work without needing to find their tutor. It also presents a respository and delivery system almost unlimited access to resources such as documents, worksheets, images and even sound files.
iLearn can also link learners to other online pathways and embed videos from YouTube, articles from newspapers, magazines and blogs. Why not consider creating podcasts that help other learners on your course? Possibilities are limited only by your imagination. ILearn can cope with just about any information source you can throw at it.
More than just a virtual repository for learning resources, the iLearn VLE offers gateways to limitless pathways of connection, content and learning from which tutors, learners and even community leaders can all benefit.