A brief history
For something with such a futuristic name, you'd be forgiven for thinking VLEs have only recently been introduced but those with a longer background in education know different. The VLE has gone from being a compulsory tool for learning to something that fights for priority within school budgets.
Why do I need a VLE?
When used well, a VLE provides so much more than a digital record of school activity. It is a resource bank that can be used to push information out as well as in. Enabling improved communication, reducing teacher workload and performing the work of several systems. Whilst schools enjoy free access to many online solutions, the rub is that a payment is being made with the data that's exchanged in the process. The beauty of a school VLE is that all information shared and exchanged through it is safe and sound.
Collaborate and Enrich
Designed to enhance school life, a VLE brings people together so that work can be carried out collaboratively and easily shared. This a great advantage within a school but also hugely advantageous for Multi-Academy Trusts or Cluster Schools that reside in different locations.
How versatile a platform is will vary from VLE to VLE but those with greater flexibility will serve a school or multi academy trust for the longer term. Schools can easily find themselves locked into a solution that doesn't provide any movement outside of the remit it was originally sourced for. This shouldn't be a reason to shy away from investing in a VLE but is certainly a differentiating factor that should be explored.
We've saved the most important reason for investing the right VLE until last - it's for your people! Far from making people disappear into their own virtual worlds, a VLE is great for supporting lively classroom debate, planning content for themed days or capturing school trips.
The Frog Way
Why 'VLE' is no longer a dirty word
Virtual Learning Environments may have had a chequered history, but VLE is no longer a dirty word - far from it - there's plenty to get excited about. FrogLearn is a great example of the evolution, a platform so capable it can be used to create many different solutions. To prove just how powerful it can be, The Frog Academy launched last year to challenge schools to put forward their ideas to see if we could build a solution for them using the tools available in FrogLearn. The only ask from Frog is that once a school-inspired solution is built, it is then shared with all other Frog schools for free. This model has already seen the creation of a number of solutions that schools may not consider to be something a VLE platform can achieve.
'The best VLEs had strong support from senior managers with good resources for development and maintenance.'
Source: Ofsted, Virtual Learning Environments
Implementation and culture just as important
A positive culture is needed to successfully embed a VLE. so support from senior leaders at the outset is vital. Frog is not a typical learning platform provider because we recognise it is not just about technology, it's about people and their use of it. As a result we invest time in consultation and implementation planning to ensure schools get off to the very best start with their VLE.