That’s Virtual Learning Environment to mere mortals, or online learning to us mere plebs.
Recently I have begun to review various online learning platforms for work. One of the constants is just how in love they all are with themselves. Of course, this is sales talk. There is no substitute for having a go as a punter to get the real experience. To this end I’ve begun on an odyssey of enrolment on various online courses at different levels. The one I have recently completed if with the Open University. It was a short 24 hour course called Digital literacy: succeeding in a digital world. Those of you who know me know that the subject is meat and drink, simplicity itself.
The Open University’s OpenLearn VLE follows a well-worn path. It’s comfortable in its expectations. Read a bit, make some reflective notes and take a quiz each session to confirm that you’ve learned something. Over the eight session course I took, two of the quizzes formed the grade that completed the course with. The environment was what I expected. There were some videos to watch, some sound clips to listen to and some fill in the letters type questions to play with.
I did have some issues though. Of course I did. The course used several acronyms as so called mnemonics. The problem was that I just know that I would be quizzed on the acronym as I was working through the course materials. What ensued was more of a test of my search and scan ability than my learning of the material. The acronyms just were not good enough to be worth remembering and so were instantly forgettable. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid) they were not. They were also not acronyms that had any parlance outside the confines of the VLE. For example, ACCEPTS, which stands for (apparently) Access, Collaboration, Cost, Ease of use, Purpose, Trust, Shelf-life. However when one looks elsewhere online for corroborative evidence this does not appear to be the received definition of the acronym. Nearly the entire first page of Google results credit ACCEPTS to be a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy related acronym and nothing to do with Digital skills whatsoever.
No matter, the three characters used to illustrate different approaches to digital activism were believable if a little wholesome. The actual content (apart from the spurious acronyms) was sound and the quizzes were relevant if a little predictable. A sweet little try out all told with few surprises either positive or negative. I cannot imagine anyone taking the recommended 24 hours to complete the course though.
You will find plenty to amuse yourself all for free by following the above link.