Virtually There: Learning Platform Evaluation, VLE evaluation

virtuallythereIf you are working in a school in the UK then you’ll almost certainly be aware of the need for every child to have access to an online space or learning platform. However, the sheer weight of information available about the various options open to you is staggering. Some schools are well along the road to having a decent VLE (virtual learning environment) solution, but there are many more who either have not yet bitten the bullet or who are completely mystified as to what a VLE is and why it is necessary.

Working with the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Foundation (YHGfL), Cleveratom have conducted a research project exploring the extent to which VLEs have begun to be implemented and, more importantly, what the learning journey was for the schools involved and the impact on the people in those schools. The book was accompanied by a DVD which we also created and was launched at Castleford’s ‘XS!TE’ on Wednesday 23rd May. We were delighted to have Stephen Heppell for the day to lead the proceedings and bring his unique insight into learning and global trends in education.

Whilst this book is a landmark moment for Cleveratom, it is also a massively important publication for lots of other folk. It is true to say that we have been involved in establishing, researching, exploring and disseminating information about learning platforms for many years now, including our time at Ultralab. We understand a lot about why schools should have them, the benefits they bring and the ways in which implementing them can be accomplished beneficially. There is no one size fits all solution here, and each school needs to understand the processes involved and know what it is that they are aiming to achieve by setting one up.

We can help with all of that.

If you’d like a copy of the publication, contact the YHGfL team in Scunthorpe and they will send you one for £15. It is money well spent, I think. If you’d like to talk to an independent impartial company about VLEs first, get in touch with me. We will take you through the quagmire of information and lead you to a carefully thought out decision for which software to use.

Images from the YHGfL launch day can be found here. More information about the entire day and the research can be found on Matthew Eaves’ Blog.

3 thoughts on “Virtually There: Learning Platform Evaluation, VLE evaluation

  • 6 February, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Hi Hal,
    I would be interested in a copy of the book and a discussion about your research.
    Please do get in touch.
    Kind regards,

    Nicholas Watkins.
    Head of ICT Services
    The Royal College of Music

  • 28 October, 2009 at 7:20 am

    i am currently working in Abu Dhabi where i have been instrumental in introducing Moodle across the secondary school. i am now working on IPOD uses in educaction. for my MA i am exploring VLEs and would love a copy of this book but Amazon takes weeks to get here. any idea where i can get one from quickly?

  • 28 October, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    HI Charlie – thanks for the interest. Unfortunately the IP for the book resides with the Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning Foundation who have as yet declined to create an electronic version of the publication. It may be worth contacting them (ask for Pat) and see if you can persuade them!

    The book itself is a collection of case studies and advice from people who have been through the process of implementing a VLE of any description in their schools. Not surprisingly there are repeated pieces of advice, such as manage the change carefully, ensure there is leadership team ‘buy in’, ensure all staff are part of the process and want to have a VLE to work with, get the vision right… start with a dedicated group of staff and roll out slowly from there, expect to take time to get it right.

    Additionally, it’s important to know that implementing a VLE needs a person to ‘champion’ it within the staff. This person doesn’t need to be senior leadership, but should carry some credibility and have a passion for what they are doing. This seems pretty vital for getting it embedded.

    Two years on from writing the book and much of it still holds true. The biggest question I hear repeatedly from primary schools is probably ‘why do we need one?’. From secondary schools it is ‘how do we engage the students more effectively?’ As you might imagine – there are a raft of possible answers!

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