Yes! The Virtual Lab School is designed to empower child and youth care and education professionals as they build their knowledge and skills around research-based practices. The VLS was initially created as a professional development and resource system for the more than 30,000 professionals working in child and youth care and education programs run by the U.S. military. The online content of the VLS is also available to the public.
Currently, only individuals who are employed by military child and youth programs are eligible to create a user account. However, the Virtual Lab School content is still available to ALL users, even those without an account.
Military child and youth programs:
All Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine child and youth programs will begin using the Virtual Lab School over the next year. Each service has established an implementation timeline that best meets the needs of their specific programs and staff. You will be given registration and log-in instructions through your program leadership when the VLS is launched for your program.
In the meantime, to get a preview of what your child and youth programs will be using in the near future, we would encourage you to continue to explore the Virtual Lab School website! All of the content is available to the public to view, without a log-in.
The Virtual Lab School does not currently offer completion certificates for individuals who are not affiliated with military child and youth programs.
Issuing a completion certificate is one way of verifying that a user has viewed online content. The Virtual Lab School professional development and resource system engages learners further by embedding interactive learning activities within the online content. By pairing opportunities for reflective practice and supervision with one-on-one interactions between learners and coaches, the VLS seeks to positively impact how professionals approach their work with children and families each and every day.
Individuals working in military child and youth programs receive this one-on-one support for their learning from military programs’ training and curriculum specialists. Training and curriculum specialists actively mentor staff at all stages of learning, as well as track progress and verify that learners have completed all learning activities prior to being issued a completion certificate.
We are actively exploring ways to offer this new approach to professional development to all Virtual Lab School users in the future.
While everyone can access all of the content without a user account, public users will not be able to track or save their progress on the Virtual Lab School site.
Yes. Once logged in, you and your trainer will have access to a user dashboard which tracks and displays your progress.
No formal assessments are currently available; however, each lesson concludes with a brief self-evaluation meant to reinforce learning.
Yes. Your trainer will provide you with a paper and pencil assessment to complete after you have finished a course
We do not offer professional development credit for completion of Virtual Lab School courses to public users at this time. However, we are actively pursuing options for the VLS to support the professional development goals of our public users.
We have worked with the Department of Defense and the individual military services to establish articulation agreements for military child and youth program professionals to apply completion of VLS courses to other professional development opportunities. Your immediate supervisor is a great resource to help you develop more specific plans to meet your professional development goals.
Additionally, Ohio State University has developed an online Associate of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Development and Education. Completion of Virtual Lab School coursework will count toward some of the AA degree requirements. To learn more about the AA degree program, visit this page: http://online.osu.edu/program/aaecd.
Additional information on the AA degree opportunity is available here.