It is very useful for a student to undertake reading or similar before the lesson, it prepares them and gives a background to the topic of the session.
Often in a course you may require students to read a chapter from a textbook in preparation for the next session.
You can do something similar with resources on a VLE.
Resources you could ask your students to read or go through could include one or more of the following:
• NLN Learning Object;
• resource from Ferl/QIA website;
• resource downloaded from the JISC JORUM repository;
• a specific web link (or selection of web links);
• a resource you have created and uploaded to the VLE;
• a series of questions to ascertain the previous knowledge.
One of the advantages of a VLE is that the use of the resource by learners can be tracked so you will have an idea of who has actually done what you asked.
A specific example of this to show how you can do this.
For the GCE AS History you need to study the Russian Revolution.
There are a range of NLN Learning Objects which cover History and one covers 1917 – the year of revolution: The failure of the provisional government and the success of the Bolsheviks.
Prior to starting the topic you could ask your students to look at and read the learning object on the VLE in the same way you may get them to read a chapter from a book.
They will then be able to have a background to Russian Revolution of 1917 which will enable you to focus on the issues rather than starting from scratch.