Okay, so let's be honest. Lots of the instructors in most colleges and universities could use some skills development when it comes to using their Learning Management System. That's just the way it is.
And pretty often that LMS is Moodle.
And sadly, few want to make time to sit in PD on your campus to sharpen their Moodle skills.
I had the pleasure of talking with VerveEd founder Robbie Coombs recently about the great work his start up is doing. The smart minds at VerveEd are excited about using this platform to help teachers improve their Moodle skills today, and looking forward to evolving their training offerings to focus on the wider world of excellence in online instructional practices in general.
VerveEd.com has been developed by educators who were tired of taking ‘how to’ training about online education which was devoid of the pedagogical grounding to make it valuable. So they combined their decades of educational expertise, got some technical smarts onboard, and set about disrupting how educators learn to use LMS’s. The result is a custom training platform which allows educators to enroll into courses that VerveEd designs, develops, delivers and maintains to educators around the world. The first course they’ve developed is ‘Into to teaching online’, and uses the Moodle LMS as a context to guide educators through methods, tips and guidance on how to create inclusive learning experiences in LMS’s.
The customization of their platform allows the training to be directly integrated and woven into the user interface of the platform, and requires the trainee to utilize an LMS to progress through the course. An example of this is the lesson on engaging users through discussion forums. The trainee goes through the process of adding a forum, and the lesson presents pop-ups advising the trainee on where and how various settings can complement certain learning outcomes, or in what delivery modes you may want to consider different settings. This has similarities to WalkMe except that because of the customizations VerveEd has put into their platform, they can do things like generate 5 user accounts for you to interact with, upload assignments for you to learn about online grading, and more. This is significant, as it provides you an authentic training experience, instead of a superficial layer that sits on top.
Another notable difference to other training options, is how VerveEd awards trainees who complete their course. They have developed a custom accreditation process which uniquely validates a trainee’s proficiency. Each trainee is given 9 scenarios based challenges each of which requires them to undertake common tasks such as mark a student assignment, create a discussion forum, export the course gradebook etc. The trainee has to complete each scenario, and along the way, VerveEd’s code will monitor and authenticate the scenario as the trainee completes it (see below).
VerveEd believes that if an educator has a VerveEd Certificate of Completion, then that’s quantitative validation of a teacher’s technical proficiency to use an LMS.
As Robbie Coombs admits “due to the broad range of users on our site, the challenges validate technical proficiency more so than how to teach online. We’ve got users from public education, private, corporate training, government and NGO’s, so we don’t feel comfortable providing challenges that aim to validate appropriate teaching practices across such a broad set of users. Rather, this is where we see the value of institutional training environments.”
Custom, Institution-Specific Training
The institutional licenses Robbie mentions are where the team wants to take VerveEd. These are customized environments where the look and feel of the training site, along with the training material and challenges, can be tailored to the methods and processes an institute wants their teaching staff to be across. A primary school may want their teachers to know ways to develop parent inclusive courses so they can stay on top of their child’s homework for the week. A government department may care more about developing courses that provide transparency of all learner’s progress for compliance purposes.
This is where the value proposition of VerveEd makes a lot of sense for larger institutes. Anytime, anywhere, self-paced training for educators that they can start and stop as they like, and provides pedagogy rich material in an environment that looks, feels and behaves the same as their teaching LMS. Short of having someone at your beck and call to sit with you, VerveEd may just be creating the perfect context for this type of training.
Today, VerveEd offers online Moodle training and certification that is affordable, self-driven, and effective. You use Moodle interactively to partake in the training, and gradually build out the start of your own course as you work through the materials.
You can take the current VerveEd training course, which will result in a formal certification upon the completion of 9 challenges, each of which awards its own digital badge, for just $199 AUD.