The future success of e-learning depends on appropriate selection of tools and services. This symposium will propose that the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as an institutional tool is dead, no more, defunct, expired.
Ideas to be explored
The first panel member, Steve Wheeler, will argue that many VLEs are not fit for purpose, and masquerade as solutions for the management of online learning. Some are little more than glorified e-mail systems. They will argue that VLEs provide a negative experience for learners.
The second member of the panel, Graham Attwell, believes that the VLE is dead and that the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is the solution to the needs of diverse learners. PLEs provide opportunities for learners, offering users the ability to develop their own spaces in which to reflect on their learning.
The third panel member, James Clay, however, believes that the VLE is not yet dead as a concept, but can be the starting point of a journey for many learners. Creating an online environment involving multiple tools that provides for an enhanced experience for learners can involve a VLE as a hub or centre.
The fourth panel member, Nick Sharratt, argues for the concept of the institutional VLE as essentially sound. VLEs provide a stable, reliable, self-contained and safe environment in which all teaching and learning activities can be conducted. It provides the best environment for the variety of learners within institutions.
The session will be chaired by Josie Fraser.
Structure of session
The symposium will begin with an opportunity for attendees to voice their opinions on the future of the VLE. Each member of the panel will then present their case. The panel, with contributions from the audience, will then debate the key issues that have arisen.
By the end of the debate, participants will be able to have a greater understanding of the evolution and possible extinction of the VLE and the impact on learners.
A summary of the key points of the discussion will be syndicated on several blogs and other online spaces, and delegates will be encouraged to tweet and live blog the discussion as it happens in real time.