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DigiCULT 31
| mapping of the curriculum into courses that can
be assessed and recorded;
| tracking of student activity and achievement
against pre-fixed objectives;
| support of online learning, including access to
learning resources, assessment and guidance;
| online tutor support;
| peer group support;
| general communications, including e-mail,
group discussion and Web access;
| communication and interchange of content
with other systems, both in-house and external.
There are many ways of using a VLE, ranging
from simple applications of a limited range of tools,
to support for face-to-face courses, through to online
courses that make sophisticated use of a wide range
of the VLE's facilities. Figure 2 gives some examples
of how VLEs can be used, and shows the possible
range in their levels of sophistication.
1
These uses
can of course be combined in as many ways as
appropriate to local needs.There are a number
of commercial VLE software packages available,
including Lotus LearningSpace,
2
COSE
3
and
Learn eXact.
4
Educational
Objecti
v
e
s
Educational Models
Technolo
gy Inno
vation
Quantum Leaps:
Fundamental & Disruptive
"Jump Shifts" Forward
in the levels of
- interactivity ( )
- collaboration ( )
- personalisation ( )
brought to education
by new technologies
& media
Change of
personal
attitudes &
social models
Growth of
abilities &
Knowledge
Transfer of
data/facts/
procedures
60s: Behaviourism
Pavlov, Skinner, Thorndike
70s-80s: Cognitivism
Novak, Ausubel, Gowin
90s-00s. Constructivism
Norman, Jonassen
Mainframe Computing
80s:
Personal
Computing
New Millenium:
Learning Objects
XML and Distributed
Web Services
Standard Digital
Content & Services
Mobile BB
Communication &
Ambient Intelligence
(interrelation of
content, context &
communities)
90s:
Internet
Technology
Figure 1:Today's Big Picture: A quantum leap in educational technologies
As a quick and
easy way to
use the web to
distribute course
materials and
carry out
course
administraion
To act as a
gateway to
additional
online
materials
To provide a
means of
communication
between
students,
teachers and
outside
contributors
To provide a
"shell" for
computer-
assisted
learning
resources
To provide
further exam
practice and
to administer
summative
exams
To provide
additional
support and
practice for
campus-based
students
To act as
platform for
collaborative
student
projects
To deliver
complete
online
courses with
fully integrated
activities, e.g.
distance
learning
courses
Interactivity & Collaboration
Complexity
Figure 2: How VLEs can be used, and related levels of complexity, interactivity and collaboration
1
Cook, J.: Virtual Learning
Environments: Making the
Web easy to use for teachers
and learners. LTSS, University
of Bristol (1999) available
from http://www.ltss.bris.
ac.uk/ VLEintro_1.htm
2
Lotus LearningSpace,
http://www.lotus.com/home.
nsf/welcome/learnspace
3
COSE, http://www.staffs.
ac.uk/COSE/
4
Learn eXact, http://www.
learnexact.com
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