Victoria University (VU) has gone live with an integrated learning platform that uses data analytics and mobile apps to help design, deliver and manage anywhere, anytime learning programs for more than 40,000 students.\nThis blended learning strategy replaces an antiquated learning management system, said VU\u2019s associate director of blended learning, Dr Lisa Germany.\nShe said the old system was limited in the learning opportunities it offered students and teaching staff. A blended learning initiative incorporates more user-friendly interfaces, as well as comprehensive course design capabilities.\nThe university\u2019s blended learning project has been awarded to D2L (Desire2Learn) \u2013 a learning technology company that created the Brightspace integrated learning platform.\nThe university is using D2L's data analytics tools for more detailed reporting, assessment and collaboration to revitalise its e-learning environment.\n\u201cA big component of our blended learning strategy is to be able to support our students effectively,\u201d Dr Germany said.\nVU's CIO Professor Peter Creamer, said the concept of blended learning offers a completely different experience. \u201cLearning can be sourced from different places, quite unlike the traditional model.\u201d\nThis new model taps into different sources, channels, and groups. \u201cThe traditional model was to bring all learning into one place. But students are now widely dispersed and use different learning channels.\nBlended learning combines different resources, including the web.\u201d\nThe university has spent $20 million on ICT so far this year, some of which was spent on the deployment of cloud infrastructure-as-a-service. This service is sourced through a hosted cloud centre in Sydney.\n\u201cThis service taps into a feed that is passed around the university,\u201d said Professor Creamer.\nAnalytics a drawcard\nLearning analytics is a big draw card for education. \u201cWe are entering the era of big data and if you don\u2019t have a system that offers opportunities to drill down and learn about your students, then you\u2019re doing them a disservice,\u201d said Dr Germany.\nA reliable robust architecture remains critical to managing dynamic learning environments and preserves the integrity of data, while offering anywhere, anytime access to students and staff, she said.\nVU\u2019s blended learning package incorporates a content repository, as well as analytics and mobile apps.\nMobile apps will enable students to capture and share learning milestones, whether on campus or at work. They can update their personal achievements using mobile devices or social media.\n"Desire2Learn's ePortfolio mobile app will help our students capture evidence of their learning, as many of them spend quite a lot of time out in the workplace as part of their studies," said Dr Germany.\n\u201cStudents will be able to showcase achievements and milestones related to their work experience from their mobile D2L ePortfolio app,\u201d she said.\nOnline learning\nAmong other initiatives, the VU will finalise an online enrolment program by year\u2019s end. This initiative enables students to enrol at their convenience and track the status of enrolments in real time.\nApplicants can also attach documents together with online applications. This project replaces a resource-intensive and cumbersome paper process.\nVU is one of only a few Australian universities to offer both vocational training (TAFE) and higher education, with direct pathways between the two.\nThe university\u2019s learning programs are supported by campuses in Melbourne\u2019s west and the CBD, as well as a campus in Sydney and several offshore partner sites in Asia.\nUnder a banner of transnational education, the VU is engaging more closely with Asia, through partnerships with prestigious institutions, as well as online and campus programs.