Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) Part 2: Are VLEs Really Something New?

Mar 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Content Strategy  //  No Comments

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) combine media elements such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to create large sets of educational information, presented to consumers based on their choices and their learning experiences.

VLEs can be incorporated within products, or interface with those products, to provide real-world, practical educational experiences, addressing the short attention spans and visual and auditory preferences of modern consumers. VLEs can facilitate customers through pre-sale or post-sale content, and make possible immersive, interactive, experiential learning journeys, customized based on the consumer’s wants and needs.

But are VLEs really new? Haven’t we seen all this before? Are VLEs just hype?

Let’s compare VLEs to three other types of content collections: Elearning Modules, Multi-media Presentations, and Knowledge Bases.

Elearning modules and VLEs both make use of multiple forms of media such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to facilitate a learning process.

Elearning modules are delivered through a pre-designed syllabus or curriculum. You can go through all of the materials, or just pick the parts that you want to use. However, you are confined to the pre-designed scope of that specific course. Not all of the materials may fit your learning style.

On the other hand, using VLEs, you design your own journey through a set of educational materials that matches your learning preferences and needs. If you want to learn more about a topic, VLEs can help you branch out and find more relevant information, presented in media that suit your learning style.

Elearning modules provide an interactive and practical method to educate and learn, but don’t necessarily cater to each user’s learning preferences and needs. VLEs further explore the potential of digital educational media by turning learning experiences into personalized journeys.

What about multi-media presentations? These pre-designed collections of content have been around for many decades. While they allow for a varied conglomeration of relevant information, presented in a variety of media, they are even less user-directed than elearning modules.

How about knowledge bases? Knowledge bases are often focused on post-sales content that helps consumers use products and services effectively. They can provide information in a wide variety of media. And they sometimes allow users to choose from a variety of learning options at different stages of their journey through the material.

In fact, some of the most advanced knowledge bases in use today can be accurately described as VLEs. While both knowledge bases and VLEs can focus on either post-sales help information or other types of content, knowledge bases are strongly associated with product support. The term VLE may be more appropriate to describe the wide variety of interactive, customizable content collections that enable unique user journeys through educational, marketing, pre-sales, post-sales, and even entertainment content.

Are you ready to achieve a level of success that leads the world? Contact Saiff Solutions today.

VLEs are the cutting edge of information design, interactive learning, customer service, and marketing. Have you experienced using a VLE, or something close to it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is the second entry in an educational series exploring the power of VLEs. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

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“After Symantec acquired Brightmail in 2004, Barry played key roles in integrating the information development team and their content into Symantec’s then-developing Unified Content Strategy. Barry [Saiff]’s experience, product and content knowledge, and leadership qualities helped the Brightmail team to become a trailblazer within the company. The processes, tools, and practices they helped to develop for content management are used throughout the company, thanks in large part to Barry’s participation in numerous cross-departmental teams. Barry is a natural leader who can effectively contribute to any endeavor. He has a passion for serving customers that drives him to create and evangelize process improvements and to collaborate effectively with diverse groups and individuals. I would be glad to work with Barry again.”

Alexia Idoura (nee Prendergast)
Senior Manager, Symantec
February 16, 2011

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