Flexible Learning Pathways

Experience

The World is Your Classroom

At VLACS, students have the opportunity to learn through experience as they participate in internships, travel, work, independent learning, 
entrepreneurship, service learning and more. Students can enroll at any time, and work and learn at a pace that meets their needs.

How It Works

Design

1. Design
During the “design” phase you’ll refine your ideas and connect your activities to our academic competencies.

Learn

2. Learn
During the “learn” phase, you will be involved in your internship, travel or other independent study, while documenting what you’ve learned. Your VLACS instructor will support you throughout your experience.

Assess

3. Assess
During the “assess” phase, you’ll demonstrate what you’ve learned and participate in a discussion-based assessment with your VLACS instructor. The learn and assess phases will occur as needed throughout your experience until you’ve achieved competency.

Leveraging Existing Work

 

Leverage existing interests, talents, and passions
Students are able to explore their interests, talents and passions, making learning fun and engaging. Learning through experiences expands horizons and opens students to a world filled with learning opportunities.

 

 

Flexibility
With Anytime, Anywhere learning, students can learn at their own pace and in the setting that makes the most sense for their preferred style of learning.

Flexibility

Efficiency of Learning

 

 

Efficiency of Learning
Students can weave multiple competencies from the entire VLACS catalog into their unique experiences to accomplish academic goals efficiently and inline with their vision. This will depend on the Experience, and how many competencies you wish to earn. It may take about four weeks to complete an experience that satisfies a single competency or 32-36 weeks to master the competencies for a full-credit (~8 competencies).

 

 

Real-World Experience
Students gain experience in real-world settings, connect with an expert in the field, with the support and guidance of a VLACS Instructor.

Real World Experience

Case Study

Case Study
A student interns at a private restaurant chain based in her community, whose owner wanted to expand advertising via the web and social media. The student helped design a social media marketing campaign and helped build a new website. She contacted a number of marketing firms and website designers to learn more about marketing and web development. By the end of her internship, the restaurant not only had a new website but also a thriving social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This student was able to master several competencies that included persuasive writing and HTML5 coding.

Experience FAQs

View All FAQs

During my experience, do I have to complete all of the competencies in English, for example, in order to earn a credit in English?

No. At VLACS, you can earn a credit in English through a variety of options as long as you master all of the competencies for that English credit. For example, you could master two English and two science competencies during an internship. If needed, you could then take care of the rest of the English and science competencies by enrolling in a portion of each course.

How long does it take to complete an experience?

This depends on the experience that you design and the amount of time you have to commit to your experience. It may take about four weeks to complete an experience that satisfies a single competency or 32-36 weeks to master the competencies for a full-credit.

What is the difference in selecting to do my work through a Course, Project or Experience?

Courses, project and pathways are alternative ways for you to learn, meet competencies and earn credit toward graduation. Courses are organized by traditional subject areas and take you through the materials in a similar way to traditional courses in school. Projects provide the opportunity for you to learn more independently, through web resources, and demonstrate your learning by completing a project. Experiences allow you to work with a VLACS instructor to design your own method for learning and demonstrating competency. The same competency can be met through various pathways. Regardless of the pathway, you will work closely with a VLACS instructor.

What kind of things are considered an Experience?

Experiences can happen through internships, service learning, travel, independent study or entrepreneurship.

Can I get credit for a family trip?

Credit is earned by learning and meeting a group of our existing competencies. So the answer is maybe. You have to demonstrate you mastered a competency in order to receive “credit” for the Experience.

Can I get credit for something I have already done?

No, Experiences must be designed with a VLACS instructor and then completed.

Does VLACS set up my Experience for me?

No, a VLACS instructor will work with you to design an Experience. You will ultimately be responsible for setting up the Experience.

Can I earn course credit through an Experience?

Yes, provided you meet all of the course competencies. You might meet them all through the Experience, but more commonly most of them are met through the Experience and the remainder are completed through project or course work.

How often will I complete work and meet with my instructor?

Students work on Experiences on a regular basis. This may mean each week day or a few week days for an extended period of time. Students will be expected to meet with their instructor weekly and meet due dates for their assignments.

What will I need to start up with my Experience?

  • Students will need to be able to access and use Google Drive and Documents
  • The VLACS instructor and student will decide if a mentor is needed. A mentor is an expert in the field who coaches the student. The mentor can be a professional in the field, someone with specific expertise or knowledge, or a teacher. Mentors must complete a Criminal Records History Check and Fingerprinting.

Will I start working on my chosen competencies right away?

You will start working on your chosen competencies after completing an introductory unit that focuses on designing your Experience.  In this unit, you will, among other things,  identify the competencies you will pursue, determine what you will do to demonstrate mastery of each competency, and conduct some initial research on the competency skills and concepts.

Flexible Learning Pathways

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