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Virtual Learning Reports of the demise of the VLE/LMS are greatly exaggerated

Niall Sclater summarizes with anti/pro-learning management system rhetoric (I’m proud to say that I’ve contributed to the rhetoric: LMS: Wrong place to start elearning and Learning or Management System?). According to Niall:

Whether VLEs are any good at facilitating effective learning as well depends on the imagination and skills of those creating the content hosted by them and the activities facilitated by them. Meanwhile, denial-of-service attacks permitting, social networking sites and free learning content go from strength to strength for those with the time and inclination to engage with them.

The challenge with personal learning environments is most notable in how they fail to align with existing learning structures in schools and universities (see my earlier commentary on the systematization of education). LMS’ are used in corporations and schools because they support the existing structure. By supporting the existing structure, they also play a role in preserving it. A co-dependent addiction…


  1. Ray Tolley wrote:

    It all depends on where you live and what your educational status is. I cannot see much hope of comparing chalk with cheese. We have here a typical example of strong-minded people from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK (and probably other countries) all trying to describe, in a darkened room, the different parts of the elephant and also using different languages to describe it!

    I suspect that in each country the VLE is being used in different ways and even within one country different sectors will be using their VLEs in different ways, and even within one specific sector within one country, VLEs are being used in many different ways.

    Here in the UK it might be true that some complain about the unimaginative use of the VLE in HE. (But is that not again about didactics rather than technologies?) In the maintained sector all schools are required to have a VLE, they can pick and choose from some 35 different vendors, and are generally begining to develop them to a very high standard. Content packaging initiatives are going well, interoperability groups such as SALTIS are pulling schools and vendors closer together and even some developments are begining to take place in the direction of Web3.0 and PLEs.

    I therefore question the statement “The challenge with personal learning environments is most notable in how they fail to align with existing learning structures in schools and universities ” I wonder if it is absolute knowledge or absolute arrogance that can generate such a statement.

    Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Ray, not sure I get the point of your “absolute knowledge/arrogance” comment. Perhaps you didn’t read the post in detail that you are responding to…my point is that university systems align well with LMS/VLEs. The fragmentation created by PLEs does not yet align with existing structures in universities (learner management, curriculum creation, teaching, grading, etc.)

    Monday, September 14, 2009 at 9:53 am | Permalink