Why Engaging Virtual Learning Environments are the Key to Success

Engagement plays a huge part in learning, here are some things to think about when planning your learning

Engaging VLEs

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At BuildEmpire we utilise the power of popular JetBrains team tool YouTrack to track tasks and maintain our sprints. As Test Analyst, part of my role is to maintain YouTrack and ensure that tasks are being accurately tracked and updated once deployed and tested. This is of benefit not only to our internal team but also to our clients who can clearly see our sprint progress in YouTrack.

Online study has become an ingrained part of modern life – an easy, efficient and effective solution to learning, without all the constraints of time or location.

And whether it’s children using computers to complete their maths homework, or staff members’ fulfilling their health and safety training, most people have now touched base with this form of education at some point or another.

But while there’s no doubt that virtual learning environments have grown and progressed quickly, have they always done it well?

Not so much.

The good news is that long gone are the days of endless course modules, which felt like reading the online version of a textbook (cue repetitive note-taking and falling asleep at the desk) – say hello to the online learning revolution.

Today, the virtual learning environment is about creating interaction, building a community and making the best of online tools to help us study in the most engaging ways possible.

And, whether that’s a course built for a select group of people or a training programme developed for your entire national team, an engaging learning environment doesn’t have to be limited.

In fact, there are a number of ways to make sure your system design allows students to make the most of the online world – and, here, we’ve compiled a few things to consider.

First off? Gamification.


The biggest and best companies in the world regularly use gamification as a marketing strategy – building online games that keep their customers engaged long after the initial product has been consumed.

For example, just think about the M&Ms Eye Spy game in 2013; not only did it boost their online following by 25,000, it no doubt ensured people didn’t forget the new pretzel flavour in a hurry. You can read more on that here.

And there’s no reason why you can’t use this incredibly effective strategy to engage your learners, too – such as implementing a game that encourages users to spot health and safety risks in a kitchen, with the chance to share their results within an online study community.

You’d probably agree that sounds more fun than answering numerous multiple-choice questions.

Which brings us to the next important learning feature – interactivity.


Allowing your students to interact with each other and their tutors in an online community is the optimum way of bringing the realism of face-to-face teaching into a virtual environment, permitting users to solve answers through discussion or seek additional support from fellow peers.

It’s undoubtedly fundamental in helping and encouraging learners to expand their thought-base and boost motivation.

But, at the end of the day, you can’t make the most of gamification and interactivity if it isn’t packaged into user-friendly system.

And that rounds up to our final consideration – user interface design.

User Interface Design

Just think; how many times have you scoured an online shop, only to give up on the way to the checkout because the interface just wasn’t clear, wanted too much information or took too long to wade through?

User interface is a key part of any learning management system, especially if your students are going to be spending a long time on it.

No, they don’t want long loading pages, never-ending pages of writing and time-consuming set-up processes. Give them smooth, clean navigation, multimedia learning tools (we’re talking games, videos and more) and the chance to engage with other learners in their industry.

We guarantee it’s this experience that will see them signing up to your classes time and time again (and, if you need some help, get in touch with us at Build Empire for more information).


Take a look at some of the engaging VLE’s BuildEmpire have built in our Case Study section.