These courses are freely available on the VLCs platform for anyone, anytime. They typically consist of a series of self-directed interactive online modules followed by a multiple-choice assessment. These courses are typically quite short and suitable for rapidly transferring knowledge to large numbers of learners in a cost-effective manner.
Tutored virtual courses for large audiences
These tutored courses target large audiences of regional or field-based workers. The courses make use of a combination of live webinars, asynchronous discussion fora, interactive online modules, quizzes and assessments.
In-depth virtual courses
These courses aim to build advanced skills, particularly for a group of people highly specialized in a given topic. The courses include the more intensive tutorial support needed to build these advanced skills.
Webinars, live online workshops, online discussion fora, interactive modules and/or pre-recorded presentations and further reading materials are combined with a series of assignments and problem based learning exercises, which are tutored marked and/or peer reviewed.
Assignments aim to generate outputs that can then be applied in the national context (for example the design of a research study or disease control plan).
Blended learning approaches combine face-to-face and online learning experiences. Each modality is used for its particular strength. Often, virtual learning is first used to transfer knowledge through the provision of interactive self-study modules, videos and reading materials. Face-to-face training can then focus on the application of this new knowledge in practical sessions, discussions, workshops and applied exercises. This “flipped classroom” approach means that we can make best use of face-to-face training, which tends to be limited by financial and time constraints, by ensuring these sessions are applied and allow learners to discuss collaboratively with both tutors and peers. There is no need to spend precious face-to-face time on lecture format teaching. Indeed, moving this type of learning online is often more effective since each learner can study materials at their own pace.
Many of the VLCs courses are specifically designed to be easy to translate into additional languages. Translation into local languages is vital in allowing our courses to reach as wide an audience as possible. Each regional VLC is also involved in tailoring courses to individual regional needs and courses are developed so that such regionalization can be managed quickly and flexibly.