100 ways to use a VLE – #17 Keeping on top of the subject

If you want your learners to do well and get the best grades possible they need to do a little (or a lot) more than what they do in lessons and homework. There is only so much time in a teaching week, and only so much non-class based work that we can expect the majority of learners to do (and have the time to assess effectively). Competent learners will realise early on, more so on HE courses, that they have a responsibility to do more than what is “given” to them. They need to read around the subject as well as the provided reading lists, they need to look at extra original sources in addition to those they receive in class. They should also be reflecting on what they have studied and assessing where they are.

This is often expected to happen in HE, and in FE should happen progressively to support the transition from FE to HE.

There are various ways of providing systems and mechanisms to allow learners to keep on top of the subject, the VLE is just one of many ways that will support and enable learners to stay on top of their subject.

By embedding RSS feeds, extra links to additional resources, links to e-books, etc… those learners who want to take their studying to the next level will have easy access to what they need. Adding in blogs and discussion forums will allow learners to reflect and discuss relevant areas of the subject at a higher level.

Of course this will only really work if both the practitioner and the learners buy into the concept. One practical way of supporting the process is to bring in your learning resources team (library staff) and get them to start the process and creating the relevant area on the VLE. Initially they could create more generic areas for subjects rather than ones that focus on specific qualifications.

If quality of achievement is an issue for an area then using the VLE as one mechanism for enabling learners to keep on top of a subject is a quick win. It may also have an impact on retention as learners who are behind on a subject could use any such area on a VLE to catch up.

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