Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The last decade has seen a rapid adoption of VLEs across a range of programmes in Higher Education. Universities are increasingly turning to VLEs to optimise the value gained from staff teaching hours and to provide a service to learners familiar with the internet as a source of reference and information. The Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector has not yet integrated VLEs to the same extent as the Higher Education Sector. The Innovative Learning Platform for VET (VLEs4VET) Project sought to address this gap in VET teaching and learning with the transfer of positive experience and knowledge in the use of VLEs into the VET sector. In particular, the VLEs4VET Project facilitated the selection and implementation of a Learning Platform/VLE solution for the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC) in the Republic of Ireland and develop a suite of CPD material to assist teachers in this process.
The aim of the project was to transfer positive experience and knowledge in the use of Learning Platforms by European Organisations into the Vocational Education and Training sector.
The objectives were to:
- Carry out a survey of Education Organizations in Europe to determine their needs, experiences and preferences regarding Learning Platforms/VLEs.
- Advise and support the CDVEC in selecting an organisation wide VLE solution
- Share experiences with the VET sector in Ireland and a wider audience in the EU.
In the first year of the project Partners undertook an analysis of VLEs in a range of European Union member stats education institutions. The research study, undertaken in 2010, identified trends in the adoption of VLEs, measured the impact of Learning Platforms on teaching and learning and identified effective implementation and maintenance strategies. While prior research focused solely on the technical implications of adopting VLEs the Project partners conducted research with both institutional managers/ICT managers and teachers, and thus incorporated a discussion of the pedagogical needs, from both learner and tutor/teacher perspective. The findings of the research have been summarised in a report “Virtual Learning Environments in Education: A European Study”.
As a result of the findings of the European survey on VLE usage and experiences carried out by the VLEs4VET project and an analysis of the CDVEC organisational context, together with advice from partner organisations and supporting bodies, Moodle has been selected as the VLE to be integrated into teaching and learning across the CDVEC system.
The good practice guidelines emanating from the European survey informed also the development of a CPD model and pilot process which began in early 2010. The CPD pilot process was made of various elements including online skills assessment of participating teachers and production of a set of CPD VLE implementation guides/ booklets for teachers and mentors and their evaluation during CPD/mentoring sessions.
Reflections on VLE implementation by a number of educational institutions from across Europe and by the Project Partners were collated in a separate publication called: Virtual Learning Environments in Education – A European Study. This document aims to encourage a creative reflection on VLE selection which could then be transformed into an action plan and hopefully a successful implementation.
Description The project experience offers a model for the modernisation and coordination of ICTs (including VLEs) in the VET sector in Ireland and beyond. Application of this model has the potential to result in better integration of any new ICT with a consequent improvement in practice and pedagogy, thus affording learning with increased opportunities for successful outcomes. The experience of the project consortium over the two year of the project indicates that large VET organisations need to pursue a cohesive, systemic approach to the integration of new ICTs. This approach must be underpinned by a well-planned CPD framework which facilitates the development of expertise amongst a core group of individuals with the expectation that this expertise will then benefit the organisation as a whole.
Open and distance learning
1. Virtual Learning Environments in Education: A European Study.
2. Continuous Professional Development materials for VET Teachers (8 booklets).
- Basic ICT for VLEs
- What is a VLE?
- Benefits of a VLE
- 20 quick wins with a VLE
- Initial lessons in using a VLE
- Extending Moodle
- Moodle: a teacher's guide
- 20 quick wins with Moodle
3. Responding to the e-Learning Challenge: Selecting a Virtual Learning Environment. The experience of City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee (CDVEC).
4. Reflecting on the implementation of the Virtual Learning Environments in Education across Europe.