Virtual Open Schooling can be defined as an educational practice that provides opportunity to learners to study a formal school-based course online and gain credit for certification purpose. Learners can study using asynchronously or synchronously technologies. The courses are based on existing Open Educational Resources, and are built around a learning management system with content stored on online repositories. Digital media integration would facilitate effectiveness of curriculum. Synchronous and asynchronous technologies would facilitate interaction - with peers, with teachers, and with content.
In India, NIOS has initiated to launch and start VOS in collaboration with CEMCA to serve learners to continue their education and skill development.
Currently, NIOS is offering two vocational courses under the Virtual Open Schooling (VOS) system i.e. ICT Applications and Rural Technology which are already developed in the form of NIOS OER and will be used the same material for the learners to complete the course.
NIOS is using Learning Management system (LMS) for the direct interaction between the learners and teachers which has enabled the following features:
- Online Admissions
- Online content related to the subjects
- Online live Chat-rooms
- Discussion Forum
- Online Classes through Video Conferencing
- Online assessment
- Different media used for classes i.e. Presentation, documents, video, animation etc.
After the successful completion of the course learners will appear in final examination (term end) for certification.
Virtual Open Schooling systems are beneficial in the following manners: they offer
- Personalized, tailored content: suited to individual learning
- Flexibility: Anywhere Anytime access, students can enrich their skills in learning a new subject or take up a course or class normally not available at their schools
- Lower costs: Saves on permanent infrastructure costs
- Access to high quality education: Access to quality teachers and peers, increases collaboration