The evolution of the VLE
VLEs were once seen as too complex and ‘techy’ for students and teachers to use themselves. They were almost viewed as a storage facility for large files, much like Dropbox. Needless to say, this is no longer the case as they are now used for everything, from submitting work, viewing notes and slides, to hosting online courses.
We have seen in the last couple of years that more and more universities are spending money on updating and replacing old legacy systems, with up-to-date cloud-based student record systems, lecture streaming and capture systems, in a bid to simplify and improve the experience users have with the VLE.
VLEs are now built to streamline processes internally. The VLE sits in the middle of many supplementary systems. Students have come to expect access to all of the major applications from the VLE via integrations and we are now seeing more of our customers looking at moving away from single sign-on methods to applications, such as Office 365, being hosted directly on the platform. This can greatly simplify a workflow that users are already comfortable with when logging into systems at the university.
VLE provider Moodle releases an upgrade every six months – much like we have come to expect from our social media platforms – and so students need to be informed and guided through these upgrades.
We will definitely see significant change in VLEs over the next few years with new features being added to improve the user experience.
This is because user experience is the most important factor. Cost and uptime, whilst important, are no longer the priority. It’s thinking about the best possible learner journey that they can provide to users, by bringing the important information, such as deadlines and course progression, and the first screen a user sees once they are logged in.
This will ensure users stay much more engaged with the tool and it will allow them to work through their modules without having to suffer with complications from their VLE.