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London-wide VLE Strategy for Adult Education

VLE Stratgey Meeting

VLE Strategy Meeting
12th February 2010
Brettenham House, London


Thirty delegates from Adult Learning Providers and Colleges across London attended the RSC London VLE Development Group meeting held at Brettenham House on the 12th February 2010.
Phil Butler from ULCC gave an inspiring presentation on the way personalisation is key to improving the quality of the learning experience.  He also gave a very interesting overview of some of the exciting developments taking place in London’s FE colleges with student portals using portfolios and VLEs together.
ULCC Personalisation Framework

Proposed London wide VLE strategy

London VLE Strategy Group

The purpose of this session was to explore whether a unified approach to using virtual learning environments (VLEs) would be beneficial to the Adult Education sector. Would Adult Learning providers be willing to sign up to a charter or strategy to ensure consistent access exists across London?
Would Adult Learning Providers commit to working together to overcome challenges presented by the funding shortfall?
The group certainly felt that the answer to these questions was a clear “yes”. It was agreed that the following objectives were reasonable and something everyone felt they could work towards.

Proposed London wide VLE strategy:

  1. Every learner to have access to a VLE
  2. Every tutor to be qualified to level 1 ICT or equivalent (ICT Confident)
  3. Every course to have a course documentation which supports the course this may include scheme of work, course syllabus, course outline, and learning resources.
  4. VLE to be available 24/7 both internally and externally
  5. CPD plan to support the VLE project
  6. All providers to contribute to a practitioner network for tutors to share ideas and material
  7. Central resources (RSC to host)
  8. Each organisation to have a VLE strategy or a VLE section in their e- learning/ILT/or Teaching and Learning Strategy
  9. Commitment to share good practice
  10. Short review activity which is 1 sheet of A4 and identifies which stage your VLE project is at
  11. Use of technology is evaluated as part of the lesson observation framework

It was also agreed that modifications to the wording may be useful to address the specific context of the provider but that the essence of the proposals were correct. 

What OfSTED want to see...

The advice offered by OFSTED was accepted as a useful way forward in developing an organisational approach to the use of VLEs.
According to OFSTED providers should:

  • Develop specific VLE strategies that identify senior management responsibilities
  • Ensure that VLEs are designed to enhance learning and are not just a storage or communication facility
  • Put in place quality assurance procedures that evaluate VLE usage
  • Routinely conduct an assessment of the impact of VLEs on learners'outcomes
  • Develop CPD to show the benefits of the VLE as well as a awareness of VLE strategy
  • Link VLE development with improving the effective use of integrated learning technology in classrooms and workshops.

(Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development Ofsted January 2009)

Discussion

Much of the discussion concentrated on how to maintain the momentum of improvements to teaching and learning through the use of technology in the context of the current funding climate. There was strong support for the idea of sharing resources, advice and expertise in the use of VLEs across London providers. Attendees felt that the London wide initiative was a constructive approach to the challenges currently facing the sector and indicated a strong desire for the initiative to continue. There was also a suggestion to explore the viability of a London wide ACL Learning portal
Some views from delegates at the event:

“When designing the VLE it is important to see things from the learner perspective"
“To really get the most out of a VLE, populate it from the MIS to generate basic courses and use live links to MIS to keep the VLE up to date and reduce admin overheads”
“Training needs to be built into any strategy!”
“To embed VLE usage / e-learning it needs to be included in self assessment processes.”
“Minimum standards (and indeed any strategy) must be driven by SMT”

Outcomes

A smaller sub group will build on this work by further developing the strategy.
The viability of a London-wide learner portal will be investigated.
RSC London will host further VLE Development events.
RSC London will offer to assist providers in reviewing their VLE projects.

Martin Sepion RSC Advisor

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