Monday, May 11, 2009

Principles for future VLEs?

Just seen the following on Niall Sclater's Virtual Learning blog:

Virtual Learning » Principles for future VLE/LMS development:
"Principle 1: The VLE should facilitate easy online collaborative content development. The systems are not currently in place to make this easy – and they need to be enhanced.

Principle 2: The VLE must recognise the needs of specific subject areas and business needs. Areas such as maths, languages and continuing professional development courses have unique requirements for displays, technologies and formatting which need to be catered for.

Principle 3: The VLE must be able to allow access to a variety of users. Employer engagement in particular will require increasing access from outside the university and there are various other types of user which require access.

Principle 4: We need to assess continuously whether we have the right balance between “control” and “freedom” in the use of the VLE by staff and students. A compromise needs to be reached between allowing users to have sufficient levels of access to VLE facilities and maintaining the quality of our learning content, activities and support.

Principle 5: The integration of external tools will be continually evaluated. While the University considers an in-house VLE to remain essential there are facilities such as email provision which may be better outsourced.

Principle 6: The OU VLE should be visible on a wide range of channels. All student facing systems should be accessible and easy to use on mobile devices as well as on desktop PCs and laptops.

Principle 7: All textual content should be stored in XML format where possible. This will help considerably with repurposing for delivery on other platforms eg paper, e-books and mobile devices.

Principle 8: Documentation should be good enough that course teams do not feel the need to write their own supporting notes around use of the VLE facilities. A proposed revised Computing Guide will address this issue which results in duplication of effort and the production of paper resources which go out of date quickly."

It's missing a key principle and one which I feel is routinely diminished / ignored within Higher Education...

Principle 9: Accept that the VLE is only one way of learning online, there are informal channels which we should not discourage students or academics from using. Content doesn't just have to be created by the institution to be a valid part of the learning journey.

These principle are all a little too "VLE as sage on the stage" for my liking. Isn't 'guide on the side' where teaching is moving? Monolithic VLEs are not the sum of elearning. Why should it take on the role of Jack of all trades? Can't it work in harmony with the tools and services students are already using?

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