Sunday, 8 February 2009

Help! I need to learn how to use the VLE!

When the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) was installed on your educational institution's network, did you receive a day or even two, of training including a workshop where it all seemed to make sense? Off you went with good intentions of making your teaching and learning materials available online. This is the future you thought. This is elearning.
Then you returned to your daily schedule and somehow you just never got back to the VLE until your manager makes it one of the tasks for the week that you make sure your resources are uploaded to the VLE.
You login to your learning platform and you get out and browse through your notes from the special training session (or two). You're trying to recall the actions that brought you success in the camaraderie of the training room. You may be fortunate and remember or find your notes actually help you to achieve your goal and you succeed with self satisfaction. What if you are not so lucky?

Uploading Office files is the usual starting point and though relatively simple demands assistance and support and a little bit of that camaraderie. Colleagues who are more advanced in their understanding and use of the learning platform installed in your institution and have admin rights to create courses are in a good position to provide support for their colleagues. Really good teachers are in need of support when facing the demands of elearning and their role in it. Elearning need not be a stumbling block if the technology fit help the struggling team members through the barrier.

Teaching staff can learn from each other and collaborate to gain a firmer grasp of the elearning tool they have at their disposal. I have used Digitalbrain in the past but I am currently working at a college that uses the open source application Moodle. Other platforms include Blackboard and WebCT but I have no experience of these as yet.

I found this presentation while looking for learning tools to teach myself Moodle. It gives a good overview of what is possible on this learning platform.

It is obviously our role to teach and support the learning of learners but it is also good practice to assist and sometimes teach colleagues how to achieve their goals in elearning.
Staff are sometimes worried about revealing that they do not know how to, for instance, successfully upload a file to the VLE especially to their managers who expect that having had the training they can do the task.
By the way the problem with uploading files is one I dealt with recently. It turned out to be a simple case of ensuring the files were uploaded from the network drive and not from a USB flash drive.

As I am myself learning through practice about creating courses and adding resources. I am developing my skills and knowledge by trial and experience. I have also searched the internet for online resources to teach myself how to use Moodle and get the best out of it and hopefully as a result provide very good elearning resources for our learners. You may find the following links useful for your own elearning and information about Moodle and VLEs in education.


Moodle: Teacher Documentation

Virtual Learning Environments

Moodle Guide for Beginners

Moodle Girl's Blog

Training the Web Worker Way - Moodle

VLE's Slow to Take Off

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