Progress tracking and certification are available to all military-affiliated users with a registered Virtual Lab School (VLS) account (see User Registration Availability). Headquarters (HQ) staff, Headquarters Assistants (HQA), Installation Administrators (IA), Training & Curriculum Specialists (T&CSs), Program Managers (PM) and Non-Supervisory Specialists (NSS) can all enroll in the Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager tracks. Direct Care staff members can be enrolled in the Infant & Toddler, Preschool, School Age, or Family Child Care tracks (see Content Overview). In addition, all Focused Topics, with the exception of Social Emotional Learning for Teachers, are now available for enrollment. The ability to enroll in a particular Focused Topic course is dependent on the staff member's role. Support Staff members may only be enrolled in Focused Topic courses.
All VLS users enrolled in the Training & Curriculum Specialist or Management tracks are automatically enrolled in all courses for that track. These users self-certify their own progress through the track. Each time a course or lesson is completed the system will save that completion on the user’s Progress Dashboard. Direct Care staff members require a Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager to certify approval of each lesson and course completed within the Foundational Tracks.
Direct Care Tracks
Direct Care staff members must be manually enrolled in a track and in courses by a Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager (see Approving & Certifying User Progress). Once enrolled in a course, Direct Care staff members must complete all lessons within that course in order to receive a course certificate. To complete a lesson in a Foundational track, Direct Care staff members must read and watch all available content in a lesson; complete and review all exercises marked ‘required’ with their coach, trainer, or administrator; and finally, correctly answer all Demonstrate quiz questions.
All steps required to complete a course are outlined in the Course Guide document, available as a link at the top of each course page. After successfully completing the Demonstrate quiz, the lesson’s state changes from ‘Enrolled’, to ‘In Progress’ for Direct care staff, and from ‘Enrolled’ to ‘Complete’ for users in the Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Management tracks.
DC Lessons: Requesting Review
Once a Direct Care staff member has completed a lesson, they must Request Review from their supervisor or coach. A Request Review button appears at the bottom of the lesson and also in the user’s Progress Page after completing the Demonstrate quiz questions (See DC: Lesson Approval & Certification).
DC Lessons: Approving or Disapproving
When a Direct Care staff member requests review, Training & Curriculum Specialists and/or Program Managers at the program receive a notification in their activity log. They can then view the Direct Care staff member’s Progress Dashboard in order to approve or disapprove their progress. Training & Curriculum Specialists and Program Managers are expected to carefully review all materials completed by Direct Care staff before issuing a decision on their progress. If a lesson is disapproved, a notification will appear in the staff member’s Activity Log. Lessons that have been disapproved require the staff member to re-take the Demonstrate quiz and to again Request Review once they have re-completed the lesson and its activities. (See TC: Approving & Certifying User Progress).
DC: Assessing Competency
Once a direct care staff member has satisfactorily completed all the lessons within a particular course, their Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager will then administer and proctor the End of Course Assessment (EOCA). The EOCA is comprised of a series of short-answer and essay-based questions designed to assess mastery of the key course concepts (see End of Course Assessment). In addition, both the Direct Care staff member and their Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager must complete a Competency Reflection for the staff member for each course completed. The Competency Reflection offers both a tool for self-reflection and a tool to assess and document observed competency (see Competency Reflection). Users enrolled in the Training & Curriculum Specialist or Management Tracks are not required to complete either an EOCA or a Competency Reflection.
Approving and Certifying a Course
When both the End of Course Assessment and the Competency Reflection documents have been satisfactorily completed, the Training & Curriculum Specialist or Program Manager can then certify the course from the Direct Care staff member’s Progress page (see TC: Approving & Certifying User Progress). A certificate is issued for every course completed. Once all courses within a track are completed, a track certificate will be automatically generated without a need for any further testing. Note that certificates cannot be rescinded or modified and will be stored in the VLS system even after a staff member leaves their position (see Certification). The Transcript document can be used to see a historical record of all certificates obtained through the Virtual Lab School (see Transcripts).
Track and Course Enrollment or Unenrollment (switching tracks or roles)
If a Direct Care staff member moves to a different track, for example, from Infant & Toddler to School-Age, they do not necessarily need to re-take courses already completed in the previous track. (see Switching Roles or Tracks) VLS Crosswalk documents are available to provide additional assistance to trainers in meeting the professional development needs of staff members who switch roles while completing VLS coursework in a specific track. Each of the 15 Crosswalks, one for each Foundational Course, identifies unique age-specific content, activities, and resources by lesson, and can be used as a guide for review material if the age-group for which a staff member is responsible changes (see Crosswalks).
If a staff member has lessons pending review, a track change will cause their progress to be lost, and any requests for review will have to be reissued. Note that track certificates are only issued if all 15 courses are completed within the same track.