John Collins is passionate about cloud-based e-learning solutions which enable the delivery of online training anywhere and anytime. He also believes in keeping the learner experience front and centre when designing a digital learning strategy. How? Read on…
Learners come first
We all know that Australian education and training organisations are continuing to evolve their services to incorporate online and blended course delivery modes. This shift to a digitally-enhanced service has the potential to transform the businesses by delivering:
- efficiency gains
- increased profits
- growth opportunities.
It’s important to remember, however, that consideration of the student learning experience should always be at the forefront of decision-making processes.
A considered approach
In planning your digital evolution, it is crucial that you consider:
- how to balance online and face-to-face learning
- the effect of a blended approach on students and staff
- how your online courses will be designed (including assessment and learning activities)
- how resources will be delivered and managed.
Standards for RTOs
Adherence to a client-centric approach to learning and system design is not only good business practice, it is in fact enshrined in the new Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) 2015. Standard 5 (of 8 standards) is explicit in its purpose, “that each learner is properly informed and protected”. This standard defines the RTO’s responsibility to provide the prospective learner with clear information about:
- where the training will be undertaken
- where assessments will be undertaken
- how long the training and assessments will take
- the delivery mode/s involved.
This is especially important where new learners are trying to navigate their way through their online courses for the first time. With this in mind, and as the manager of an Australian cloud-based LMS, it has been really encouraging to watch the rapid uptake across our client base of a new version of a Moodle plugin – the Moodle progress bar. The plugin has been designed to specifically support learners to manage their learning activities and course assessments.
The Moodle progress bar
The Moodle progress bar was originally developed by Michael de Raadt, a development manager at Moodle HQ. Although this plugin has been available for a few years, the latest version is changing the way many clients are setting up their Moodle sites. We are seeing a strong shift towards using the My Home page as the default LMS landing page.
The My Home page is a personalised and customisable Moodle landing page for providing learners with links and information on their enrolled courses and activities. By adding the progress bar for each enrolled course, the My Home page is transformed into a personal, visual dashboard. The logged-in users can view required activities and assessments at a glance, across all of the enrolled units or subjects in a qualification.
Not just for learners
Each course’s progress bar is colour coded so learners can quickly see what they have and have not completed/viewed. The teacher selects which pre-existing activities/resources are to be included in the progress bar and when they should be completed/viewed. Ordering can be done by times/deadlines or by the ordering of activities in the course. There is also an overview page, which allows teachers to see the progress of all students in a class and is helpful for finding students at risk. Furthermore, a course designer can authenticate as a learner to the My Home page to gain a holistic view of all required assessments in a qualification. This can be quite a revealing experience and may even prompt a change in the assessment strategy across the qualification.
How do you activate your progress bar?
Easy! Simply contact eWorks.