Virtual learning environments have been around for a long time now and in the last decade their use has become widespread with post-16 learning providers in Britain.
Two years ago James Clay of Gloucestershire College posed the question, was the VLE dead? This question was prompted by the emergence of the many new free on-line tools in recent years. Could all VLE activity be done in the cloud without the need for an institutional VLE?
There was an interesting on-line debate on this topic but I would suggest that the general conclusion was that the VLE is still relevant and has a major part to play in the delivery of education for the foreseeable future.
However, the use of VLEs is constantly evolving. So what are the current trends and what do you envisage for the future? Has assessment become a more significant element in the VLE feature set? Is the VLE part of a much more integrated suite of tools encompassing ILPs (electronic individual learning plans), e-Portfolios and Assessment tools? Or is there a larger vision for VLEs becoming an element of a personalised learner portal? Many businesses are using VLEs for distance learning and many colleges are now considering this route. After all it is proven in the context of the University of London International Programmes and the Open University.
What is your view on the future of the VLE?