So is the VLE the future for e-learning, the past or just a temporary solution? Are they fit for purpose or a compromise? What about the learners?
This is the ninth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, The VLE Debate.[audio:http://elearningstuff.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/elearningstuff0091.mp3]
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In this show, James is joined by Steve Wheeler, Rob Englebright, Dave Foord and David Sugden.
This show is a result of two blog posts one by Steve Wheeler and one by James Clay.
- Steve Wheeler’s Monkey Business blog post which started off this whole debate. Since this was recorded Steve has written a follow up post: The Emperor’s new clothes?
- James Clay’s response “A bad workman always blames his tools”.
6 thoughts on “e-Learning Stuff Podcast #009: The VLE Debate”
Just a note on the use of Sharepoint with Powerpoint slides. It is entirely possible to upload an entire PPT file as one operation rather than slide by slide. It is also possible to have them then displayed within the browser of the client thus removing the need for learners to have access to MS Office or even the free PPT viewer from MS.
It is also possible using Sharepoint to integrate existing “free” services fairly seamlessly if they provide useful additional functionality (eg host streaming videos on YouTube and add them as embedded resources within a Wiki/Blog etc hosted within Sharepoint)
Sharepoint is also almost limitlessly configuable and extensible to make creating such services using either hosted or external solutions relatively simple. Most of these can be done by the individual too without needing central development of the service.
I agree completely with the comment at the end from Dave Foord – with the availability of web 2.0 tools and the way they can be integrated along side a VLE (legal and management issues being concidered, such as DPA), the problem is not one of technology but of training the majority of educators to use the (existing) tools better.
From my experience (including feedback from student reps in many programme committees across 2 faculties), students seem to have fairly modest expectations of what to expect from an organisation by way of online learning resources. I have also read a paper (I forget where) which indicated that some students who are savvy with Web 2.0 may not feel comfortable with blurring the line between what they see as social interaction (Facebook etc) and the institution, feeling more comfortable when a clear distinction is possible between “work/learning” and “fun/social”.
Therefore, the provision of a distinctly institutional focused resource (portal/VLE/call it what you will) could be seen as useful to maintain that distinction – even if the portal then acts as a gateway to content and resources hosted on other external services.
Getting relevant and useful definitions of exactly the functionality gained from the use of external resources from those educators who pioneer the use of them provided to the team who develop the institutional systems may help to see those features integrated into a VLE/portal for the benefit of the majority of educators who usually only wish to learn one system (the VLE) and have all the benefits in one reliable supported system.
the point about training is very important, the majority of staff don’t use the social software because they don’t have experience of it, they are risk adverse and don’t have a high level of trust in technology. and would not use web 2 technologies for a similar reason