International House (IH) Porto is part of an international network of language schools. It provides English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese as a second language training to young people, teenagers, adults and companies.
How International House Porto Uses VEDAMO Plugged-in in Moodle Platform
International House Porto is part of an international organization of language schools, International House World Organization, which has a network all over the world. In Portugal, IH Porto is made up of two physical schools in the city of Porto. There, they teach young people, teenagers, adults and companies. IH Porto also has another project, called I Choose E-Learning (ICE), which is a platform for one-on-one instruction in English as a second language and also Portuguese as a foreign language. They have approximately 25 teachers from across Portugal and Germany, who use the communicative method of language teaching.
What challenges did IH Porto face?
IH Porto started using the VEDAMO during the pandemic, for all levels. The virtual classroom tools allow IH to follow their methodology and put emphasis on communication and speaking. During the online sessions, they usually present content on the whiteboard and then have a participants’ panel, where each learner sees the other participants and is able to speak at any time.
During the pandemic, they also conducted hybrid sessions, but currently they use VEDAMO for fully remote learning of English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese as a second language. IH Porto typically works with small classes – 8-10 learners. Currently, they have an agreement with companies to work with up to 12 participants, but usually, despite VEDAMO’s options, they like to maintain small groups and they also conduct one-on-one classes.
After the pandemic they found out that the adults prefer online courses – they save time to travel, issues finding a parking spot, etc. The companies also decided to continue learning online, because they found there is significant cost reduction for them. Online training also optimizes the learning time – the employees are behind their desks, they can attend the class through VEDAMO and then go back to work. In fact, it allows companies with several locations to bring employees together in level-appropriate classes.
The language school has been using Moodle as its learning management system since 2008 and VEDAMO is plugged-in and fully integrated in it. One administrator can run the whole process, because it is completely automated – he also relies on analytics telling who, when and how long students have been online. This is particularly useful to monitor a program and being able to guarantee that classes are in session.
They apply the following workflow
- The administrator receives the names of the students, creates Moodle accounts and sends them to the students. This way, the organization keeps all the information, which responds to the data protection requirements and is GDPR compliant.
- The administrator duplicates the Moodle course with all the resources (tutorials, handouts, listening exercises, YouTube videos, etc.) and assignments.
- They add in Moodle permanent links for the virtual classroom sessions in VEDAMO.
- They also use the post-session surveys in VEDAMO to collect feedback from their learners.
What are the key benefits from using VEDAMO for IH Porto?
- The teachers can organize their class before the session start – they upload all the materials and organize them in templates; share the templates with other people and reuse them over and over again.
- VEDAMO has excellent whiteboard tools to engage learners – the ability to write/ draw/ underline; the pointer tool, which calls for the learners’ attention, etc.
- Students can interact in a virtually tactile way – for example, the teacher can share resources, like board games on the whiteboard – they can upload the playing surface on the whiteboard, use a virtual dice and the students can choose pieces from the graphic objects and move them on the playing area.
- Distraction monitoring – this tool is useful especially for teenagers.
- The opportunity to instantly switch between the breakout rooms without any delay provides a smooth learning process.
- The option to watch the session as a hidden observer – it provides a great opportunity for monitoring without being intrusive and distracting the learning process.
- The attendance report in VEDAMO shows who attended the session and how much time each learner spent in the virtual classroom.
- The VEDAMO platform is fully branded with the school’s logo, promoting brand awareness and making it the “school’s own” platform.
- VEDAMO’s payment plan – the payment per classroom and not per teacher makes VEDAMO very affordable for larger teams.
Currently IH Porto uses the virtual classroom to teach mainly adults and companies. VEDAMO has provided the language school with the opportunity to extend their teaching team. Most of the learners are based in Portugal, with some learners occasionally being on location in Brazil or German, but they aim to reach out into the Spanish market and beyond.
Shawn Severson, Pedagogic Advisor of Business Services, Senior Teacher at International House Porto shares:
VEDAMO provides a better classroom environment, because you can do online activities from the traditional classroom, like board games. We distributed surveys among our learners and several students shared that this is the best platform for learning languages.