The Role of VLEs in the Online Delivery of Staff Development

United Kingdom Higher Education
Virtual Learning Environments offer an efficient way of delivering educational materials and managing the attendant educational support systems - text-based conferencing, assessment, interface with student database etc. But I feel they are too restrictive for use within a Higher Education context where the aim of the learning material is more than just presenting facts or procedures. Without effortless (and high quality) contact with one's peers, much of the learning benefit is lost and the student might as well read a textbook as study online.

The same applies to staff and professional development: a virtual leaning environment will be acceptable as a mechanism for delivery of learning materials to the participant, but little more. This means that traditional content-centred VLEs (such as WebCT, Lotus Learning Space etc.) can be quite good for training or skills based development, but are severely lacking in the interactive facilities required by more reflective development such as might be involved in routed to attaining membership of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

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Last updated by Colin Milligan, 22nd November 1999
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