Posts Tagged ‘education’

Managed learning environments

October 14, 2008

For many years my circle of interest has included managed learning environments (MLE) (even when I did not know exactly what they were), while my circle of influence has been centred on student management systems (or management information systems, as they are called in some countries). Recently, however, I have been tasked “to design and promote an educationally relevant, open, modular, standards-based, sustainable approach to MLE development and use for New Zealand schools”.

I am indebted to the work of many others, most notable Derek Wenmoth (see his archived blog postings on this topic). The domain is full of TLA’s, especially for the different incarnations and modules. Many vendors tell me that they offer an OLE/VLE/MLE/PLE/VTLE/LMS but is not really like any others out there. Sound familiar?

Central to my mission are the key words “educationally relevant, open, modular, standards-based, sustainable”. The better my understanding of these the better the solution will deliver to them. For the next few postings I want to focus on only three (with a close inter-relationship), coming back to the other two (that are much broader) another day.

By open I mean I appropriating all the good meaning from open source, open government, open education, etc. We will release publicly as much information as we can, as early as we can, at all steps of the journey. As we want wide vendor and school support, much of which we will not directly fund, we need to share where we are going to allow others to make their own investment and expenditure decisions with full information on our activities.

Modular as in a collection of different application and/or modules and/or services from many different providers of sources, all working together harmoniously for the benefit of the educators and learners. Quite different from the approach where a small number of providers,each offering many modules that the vendor has brought together, are contracted by with centrally and rolled out to schools.

We will seek out existing standards and specifications, select those most suited to our need and orientation and fund reference implementations to ‘prove’ they work in our context. While not funding school use, the value gained to schools using interoperable modules should grow, increasing the return quicker than the price rises.

Simple to write but a little harder to do.

Have to start somewhere, some time

October 12, 2008

After many years of reading blogs and even a short trial I feel like it is now time to start properly. I find myself surrounded by people who get some value either from writing or reading them. Well, maybe that is not quite true, but at least some of my friends and colleagues do.  And many of my clients (teachers, educators, students) blog, so joining in does make it easier to understand better some of their needs.

I am also becoming more interested in documenting my thoughts for the sake of revisiting and building on them, a sort of journal to help me build on earlier thoughts. A new job (senior manager in the e-learning or ICT in education domain), new family developments and a circle of influence that has grown quickly all create pressures and doing what I have previously done is unlikely to deliver different results.

One challenge is the work vs. personal aspects. What is appropriate for a public servant to write, especially when much will be work related? (I have read the guidelines).

I guess I will just start and feel my way forward, a little like walking in the dark in a strange room. Easy to start off safely and grow as I gain experience. So, Sunday evening after a restful weekend and I am on my way.