VLEs have come a long way over the past few years, developing from rudimentary systems for distribution of course materials into truly interactive and impactful systems for learning. As the technology has developed, and the feature sets expanded, VLEs are now better equipped for true blended learning. VLEs are now much better at engaging students and equipping them with the skills needed for the 21st century job market.
One of the key benefits of VLEs is that they extend learning to everyone, regardless of situation or level. Traditional teaching methods are inherently narrow, requiring face-to-face contact with teachers in a group setting. VLEs enable remote learning and flexible pedagogical models that facilitate learning at the right time and place. This benefits students whose personal circumstances may make class attendance difficult, as well as those who are better suited to non-traditional teaching methods.
From a teaching standpoint, the development and improvement of tools that support personalisation, such as conditional release conditions, enable flexible learning paths to be created. Teachers can tailor content based on students’ individual needs easily, prescribing learning materials based on their proficiency.
Technology will never replace the human-element of teaching, but as VLEs develop, I see them becoming ever more central to the teaching process. The stresses and pressures faced by teachers today are well documented, and as VLEs continue to develop, I envision them increasingly lightening this load, by facilitating more efficient and engaging learning environments for both teachers and students.