Developing digital literacy is often the focus when attention turns to future-proofing the workforce, but a new e-learning company is looking to help teachers keep pace in the rush to embrace technology in education and training. People with their busy schedules find e-learning a viable alternative to attending university and it seems the population love to learn online
VerveEd is a software as a service company created by e-learning specialist Robbie Coombs to bring a fresh approach to helping instructors use the Moodle learning management system (LMS)—a popular open source platform with millions of users worldwide.
“E-learning is a booming industry, but I don’t think many organisations can honestly answer the question, ‘how effective are my teachers in using our LMS technology to achieve improved educational outcomes?’” Coombs said.
“Moodle is widely used to design online courses because it has a great degree of functionality, but that same breadth of functionality can also create confusion and user anxiety about how to use the platform well,” he said.
Coombs said he saw the need for a tailored, experiential training system that would allow teachers and their employers to more easily improve and evaluate their e-learning capacity.
“Too much training aimed at developing online educators ignores best practice around how adults learn: you don’t achieve better instructors by adding a superficial layer of technical skill over existing knowledge—or by using outdated methods that don’t engage people,” Coombs said.
“It’s well understood that teachers get the most from training that is delivered in context of teaching content, and allows them to implement their knowledge through practice.
“Yet many educators are still expected to sit in a one-off workshop, watch a video, or read a handout as a way to learn how to make the most of their LMS.”
VerveEd offers a series of self-paced online modules based on real-life teaching scenarios. Users can complete all modules to achieve accreditation, but also revisit any module over and over again to refresh their knowledge.
“What sets us apart is the relevance of the training material and our immersive training environment that emphasises user experience and practical application of skills in situ,” Coombs said.
“Trainees navigate within the actual Moodle frontend, but we’ve added a sophisticated interactive interface that guides people through key tasks: it prompts trainees to complete actions, but they do all the work themselves.
“The interface includes challenges that are framed around a specific learning outcome, so teachers are primed to focus on the needs of learners to design actual course features, augmented by—rather than driven by—their knowledge of the Moodle functionality.
“These challenges validate a user’s ability to accomplish fundamental tasks in Moodle, and are verified by purpose built customisations we’ve developed. Through this, an institution is provided certainty of their instructors’ ability to deliver effective online education.”
“VerveEd offers the kind of user experience people expect from modern websites or mobile apps. Everything happens in real-time, in the real LMS environment that these instructors will use daily.”
“I believe teachers will feel more comfortable with this style of delivery and more confident in their ability to deliver quality education and training online when they achieve accreditation.
“It’s a fantastic way for people to prove their proficiency, and for institutions to establish a baseline of e-learning skill through a more consistent, flexible and cost-effective approach to training,” Coombs said.