Virtual Lab School

A Virtual Classroom to Support America’s Military Families

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Services

  • Strategy
  • Development

Sector

  • Drupal 8
  • Learning Management System

The Virtual Lab School came to Oomph to create the next generation of their distance learning platform with a focus on security, performance, and scalability for wider adoption. We leveraged query- and render-caching to support high performance alongside personalization to an individual level. The result is an application that is quicker to load, more secure, and able to support hundreds more concurrent users.

The Brief

The Virtual Lab School (VLS) supports military educators with training and enrichment around educational practices from birth through age 12. Their curriculum was developed by a partnership between Ohio State University and the U.S. Department of Defense to assist direct-care providers, curriculum specialists, management personnel, and home-based care providers. Because of the distributed nature of educators around the world, courses and certifications are offered virtually through the VLS website.

The homepage of the Virtual Lab School website shown on a tablet

Comprehensive Platform Assessment

The existing online learning platform had a deep level of complexity under the surface. For a student educator taking a certification course, the site tracks progress through the curriculum. For training leaders, they need to see how their students are progressing, assign additional coursework, or assist a student educator through a particular certification.

Learning platforms in general are complex, and this one is no different. Add to this an intertwined set of military-style administration privileges and it produces a complex tree of layers and permutations.

The focus of the platform assessment phase was to catalog features of the largely undocumented legacy system, uncover complexity that could be simplified, and most importantly identify opportunities for efficiencies.

The Results

Personalized Online Learning Experience

Enrollment and Administration Portal

Administrators and instructors leverage an enrollment portal to manage the onboarding of new students and view progress on coursework and certifications.

Course Material Delivery

Students experience the course material through a combination of reading, video, and offline coursework downloads for completion and submission.

Learning Assessments & Grading

Students are tested with online assessments, where grading and suggestions are delivered in real time, and submission of offline assignments for review by instructors.

Progress Pathways

A personalized student dashboard is the window into progress, allowing students to see which courses have been started, how much is left to complete, and the status of their certifications.

Certification

Completed coursework and assessments lead students to a point of certification resulting in a printable Certificate of Completion.

Final Thoughts

Faster and More Secure than Ever Before

When building for speed and scalability, fully leveraging Drupal’s advanced caching system is a major way to support those goals. The system design leverages query- and render-caching to support a high level of performance while also supporting personalization to an individual level. This is accomplished with computed fields and auto-placeholdering utilizing lazy builder.

The result is an application that is quicker to load, more secure, and able to support hundreds more concurrent users.

Why Drupal?

The next-generation platform is built on Drupal 8, the latest version of the open source digital experience platform, and is Drupal 9-ready.

Drupal is an ideal framework for building custom online learning platforms and learning management systems (LMS). It is highly adaptable and allows for custom, fine-grained permissions for content delivery. It is powerful and can handle the millions of rows of data it takes to maintain the progress and assessments of students. It is fast and efficiently displays the personalized content required in an LMSand it’s flexibility can accommodate any data model that an LMS requires.