Many vocational courses will have practical sessions in workshops, kitchens or salons. In these sessions learners will observe, try and practice real world skills. Learners will often be assessed in these sessions too.
The VLE, often thought of as a tool for remote learning, can be useful in a workshop situation. It can be a source of advice, guidance and support, and as a place to record evidence and assessment. If
Most workshops probably won’t have PCs in them, but as more and more learners have mobile devices to hand and VLEs become more accessible via the mobile browser, it is now easier for learners to access and interact with the V!E than it was a few years ago.
An instructor could demonstrate a skill, record it on video and then upload it to the VLE. Learners could then watch the embedded video, click a link to the video, or download the video; to watch it on their laptop, tablet or phone. So if they need reinforcement of or a replay of a demonstration then they can just get it from the VLE. Uploading to the VLE also means they can get it a later date, in another session, at home or in the workplace.
There may be handouts available for a session, by placing these on the VLE it removes the need to have paper copies, learners can download and print if they prefer paper, likewise they could just read from their device. These could cover the practical aspects of the session or health and safe guidance.
Using cameras or camera phones, learners can record themselves or their peers undertaking practical activities, these can then be uploaded to an e-portfolio linked to the VLE or up to the VLE as an assignment.
There are of course some serious considerations to think about, how would the use of PCs or mobile devices in the workshop impact on safe practice in the workshop? Is there sufficient wireless capacity in the workshop? What about workshops that have an environment that isn’t suitable for standard laptops or mobile devices? There are rugged computing devices available for not nice environments which could be used instead.
A practical or workshop session is an opportunity for learners to gain and practice skills, the VLE can be a core part of the session in providing additional resources, a place for assessment and recording.