We are proud of our e-learning provision which is made using the 'Moodle' virtual learning environment. There's an overall structure, but each programme then makes the best use of the environment to suit the needs of its students. Each e-learning session replaces a typical 3½ hour classroom session, and uses a mix of video clips, Powerpoint presentations with voice-overs, quizzes and tests. A session is 'live' for a set period during a programme, and when it is 'live', students have the option of a 'put your hand up' forum, where questions and points can be shared with the cohort and tutor, or the 'email the tutor' option, which is just like asking the tutor something at the end of a class. After the live period, students can review the material as many times as they want. We call this 'online blended learning' because it takes the best elements of e-learning and blends them with some of the traditional features of the classroom.
This learning format has many advantages, for example it allows the student the opportunity to easily revisit subjects or concepts they find difficult. Students also retain more control over their preferred learning environment, including the time of day that suits optimum individual learning – some of us are morning people and others definitely not! With our ability to host online forums and interactive video conferencing, our interactive e-learning sessions have been a well-received part of other NCA programmes for a number of years now because students have found them flexible and helpful in achieving their learning goals.