The short innovative online courses offered on The Virtual Learning Platform are based on the hypothesis that learning is augmented when learners actively engage with the learning material and in a collaborative manner with their peers. The emphasis is rather on actively constructing new knowledge and meaning in association with other knowlegeable people (teacher and/or peers) than on the passive transfer of information from the course presenter to the course participants. Online courses should not be used as conduits between course presenter and the minds of passive enrolled learners for the traditional unidirectional transfer of pre-packed knowledge-units with a limited shelf life.
The goal is rather to create an interactive communication pattern based on multidirectional information flow. Instead of handing out only an algorithm (customary process or set of rules) to solve a problem the learners are more often guided to construct meaningful solutions for complex real-life problems of which the parameters may be continuously changing. Therefore self-directed learning, supported by opportunities to explore systematic bodies of knowledge that are related to the learner’s work environment, is of critical importance in continuous professional development ('lifelong learning').
The Virtual Learning Platform’s online courses therefore create a more active and participative role for the learners, providing for participation in a variety of learning experiences to create an active and meaningful learning environment.