You can use a VLE as a starting point for a classroom session, allowing you to quickly access web sites, NLN materials and presentations, etc.. with the advantage that you can also allow your learners to access the “lesson” again on the VLE at a time and place to suit them…
You may already be familiar with using PowerPoint on a laptop and a data projector in a classroom situation.
If you have internet access you can use the VLE as a lesson planning tool with the ability to quickly access notes, NLN materials, PowerPoint presentations, web links, images and so on…
Of course once the lesson is there (whether it be a set of links, a package or a chapter) the learners can access the “lesson” again at a time and place to suit them.
Learners who were absent from the lesson can also access the “lesson” therefore avoiding the need to find out what they missed and thus saving you and them time.
Evidence shows that using a VLE in this way actually improves attendance at sessions rather than as you might think result in a drop in attendance.
The lesson can be extended on the VLE through adding additional resources and web links; and the use of discussions groups to continue and further any discussion in the classroom. These virtual discussions can certainly benefit reflective learners and those that lack confidence to speak in class but are happy to write down their views and opinions.
This lesson will also be available for the rest of the year, supporting revision for example.
The lesson will also be available next year, saving time on preparation and planning.
The VLE will never replace classroom teaching, but it can be used to supplement and enhance a classroom session that was never possible before.