In a traditional learning session learners will often be provided with resources. These will often consist of a presentation (OHPs or Powerpoint), a handout or three (some will be photocopies from books, printed Word documents and “handwritten”) and possibly some references to additional resources. Now these classroom resources are in many ways for learners the “minimum” they need to complete and pass the course. If a learner is to achieve a higher grade, and help them prepare for HE, then they will need to do more than just the “minimum”. They will need access to extra resources and guidance on what these are. In the past (or the present) we would probably give learners a reading list of text books and journal articles we would want them to read. The learner’s only way to access these resources would probably be through the library.
The VLE is a prime place to provide access to resources, enabling the learner to use the resources at a time and place to suit them. With the growing increase in the use of e-journals, e-books, digital and online resources it is much easier for practitioners to create a digital reading list. Yes such a list could be e-mailed, but by holding a “copy” on the VLE, it can be easily updated, new resources can be added, and learners can be assured that the version they are reading is the most recent version.
As a VLE can track usage of resources, then this would enable the practitioner to see who and what is been used, and then use this information in class to direct learners who may be struggling or need more of a challenge.
The list can be a simple list, but with many resources been multi-media it would be possible to create a reading list that is also a listening list and a watching list. It would also be possible to add additional learner development resources that show learners how to make best use of such lists, how to read and takes notes from resources and how to reference resources in their assessed work. It makes sense that those kinds of supportive resources are created by the library or other information professional and shared across the institution.
If a learner wants to get the best grade possible, either in exams or assessed work, they need to use a much wider range of resources than what is made available in the classroom, the VLE is an ideal location for those resources.