Virtual learning win for School of Life Sciences

Congratulations to Dr Mary McVey, Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, and a team of eight students for winning Jisc’s VLE (virtual learning environment) of the future competition.

Jisc, who provide digital solutions for UK education and research, set entrants the task of envisaging the VLE of the future, which can operate without the constraint of a computer, phone or tablet screen, although recognising that some device may be required as an interface. 

Dr McVey and her students won the competition by exploring the “memory palace” technique as a way to create an immersive environment that aids learning. The vision is for an interactive, collaborative space for independent learning without constraints of time or location.

The idea is that users immerse themselves in their study space, rather than simply use it as a place to sit. This method promotes physical activity, collaboration and seeks to make the student experience more enjoyable. The judges chose this idea as it best encapsulates the benefits of learning in an immersive environment, is informed by student ideas and addresses accessibility and inclusion requirements.

Dr McVey said of the method: “It could provide students with a solution to aspects of academia that were holding them back, allow them to excel at their courses and get more involved with their class environment, while having fun in the meantime. We wanted to use our submission to increase awareness about learning disabilities, how common they are, and emphasise the problems that students at all levels of education struggle with, on an everyday basis.”

Well done to everyone involved.

First published: 30 July 2019