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The VLE is Dead


Cloud created by:

The Cloudworks Team
27 August 2009

ALT-C 2009 Session: This Cloud has been set up to aggregate live blogs, comments, discussion and links for this session.



Extra content

Watch the trailer...

James Clay
14:57 on 3 September 2009 (Edited 14:58 on 3 September 2009)

The trailer

James Clay
12:32 on 7 September 2009

I'm going to have a go at recording this live:

Steve up first with VLEs not fit for purpose argument.

Steve starts off in non-controversial mode: E in elearning stands for 'evil' and VLE is the great satan.

VLE is funnel type learning, quotes Illych. VLE homogonises content - one size does not fit all. The VLE is owned by institution - not by students, and learners need to own tools. Not very good at discursive style learning. Does a VLE make economic sense when you can get free tools? Tools need to be agile, and VLEs are cumbersome.

Martin Weller
12:43 on 8 September 2009

Now Graham Attwell is up, talking about PLEs. Technology is shaped by people, will look at how we got to the VLE situation (and how we can get out of it).

Talks about industrialisation of education, schools were made to be like factories. Argues that school system is now dysfunctional. Technology that came in and was then based on paradigm of existing (broken) model of education. We got take-off of education during the web which was also the period of managerialism (outputs, targets, throughput, etc). VLE comes out of this era, to manage learning (not to promote learning/exploration, etc).

Show of hands - who uses VLE when they want to learn something (1 hand). Who uses Google? (everyone). So why do we force this technology on students.

Changes now - social media - shaped by learners, overcomes the divide between the environment and learning. PLE represents an opportunity to overcome this divide.

(It's like a militant rally here!)

Martin Weller
12:48 on 8 September 2009

James Clay up now - says everyone has been saying the VLE is dead for ages. Uses Graham's poll agains him - who uses lectures at their university? Who goes to a lecture to learn anything?

Makes argument that only 2% of population are signed up to Facebook, and that Google generation is a myth. Says VLE provides guidance and framework.  Allows learners who are wary and cautious to have a safe way in (and also educators). The reality is that many ed tech people don't use these technologies.

Does quick survey - who blogs three times a week or sends a video to YouTube once a week? (not many but his rate is quite high I think).

Martin Weller
12:52 on 8 September 2009

Nick Sharratt - Defending VLE - students aren't pushing for it. They don't expect innovation from their universities, but do want robustness and quality. So why do we want to get rid of it? Maybe because some people feel shackled, or like to play with new things. Frustration with VLE may be misplaced problems from elsewhere eg you aren't being supported well enough.

Could end up with Heath Robinson site where everything looks messy. Also social media sites are number one target for attacks. VLE provides safe haven.

VLE is necessary, and if we see shortcomings then it's up to us to build that future.

Martin Weller
12:59 on 8 September 2009

Discussion is underway on the topic, waiting for the symposium VLE is (not) dead’, hosted by the University of Wolverhampton, City Campus, 16th December 2009.

To join in the pre-event discussions on Twitter use #vleundead.

This cloud will host resources and links to blog posts as soon as materials will be available.

Antonella Esposito
21:14 on 11 December 2009

Embedded Content



added by Julie Carle


Gráinne Conole
6:29am 4 September 2009

This topic just goes on and on! ;-)

James Clay
7:29am 4 September 2009 (Edited 7:32am 4 September 2009)

Thank you to everyone who has written a blog entry on this topic and everyone who has signed up to attend the Symposium.

Gráinne Conole
12:48pm 7 September 2009

Lol like the trailer James - so wish I could attend the debate - reckon it's going to be a heated one!!!!

Gráinne Conole
12:45pm 8 September 2009

Have moved ur initial comments to the additional content column Martin. Am sneaking a look at the live stream for a bit, everyone looks very serious! Specially Atwell!!! :-)

Gráinne Conole
12:55pm 8 September 2009

Some nice discussions going on alongside the livestream, although unfortunately its just cut out for me :-(

Gráinne Conole
1:02pm 8 September 2009

Interesting point about the level of usage of the technoloiges by us (ie those who are supposed to be in the field) and what this means if you extrapolate to the wider community.... Whilst I am not a massive fan of VLEs I can see they have a use (for now at least) and again for me what's more important is what they are being used FOR. I must say I find the moodle site for my Spanish course fine - it has all the materials, access to other students to share angst stories on the forum and important admin notices, does what I need it to do in other words.

Emma Duke-Williams
7:00am 9 September 2009

Wonderful session - thanks. I mayn't have said anything - but some good discussions. Didn't even mind sitting on the floor for the 1.5 hours :)

Gráinne Conole
7:11am 9 September 2009

Yep looked like fun from a distance - followed some on the videostream but then stopped working, but was good to get a feel of it from the comments in here and on twitter. Sounds like you lot are having fun!

James Clay
6:16pm 12 September 2009

Just to note (as Rebecca has already added the link) that the video I shot (in addition to the stream) is now available on my blog.

Rebecca Galley
2:17pm 10 November 2009

16th Dec 2009 event from Twitter

@jamesclay RT @josiefraser The VLE: Dead Again? Come to the debate 16 Dec with @grahamattwell @timbuckteeth @jamesclay @nicksharratt

(from learninglab site) "Originally delivered at ALTC 2009, this discussion has since moved forward, opinions have changed, divided and developed so it could now be argued that VLE's are undead - an entity which was once alive, has since died but continued to carry some life like characteristics."

Antonella Esposito
7:19pm 12 December 2009

To catch up with discussions before the symposium 'VLE is (not) dead', you can read some recent blog posts, such as:

steve wheleer: The VLE sucks

dave foordr: Why it doesn't really matter if VLE is dead, undead or alive?

or join the Ning site.

Additional links and resources on the right column.

Manish Malik
8:09am 22 January 2010 (Edited 8:21am 22 January 2010)

Thanks to @antoesp (Antonella Esposito) and others who have put all the links and thinks on this together.

Escaping to the cloud now seems inevitable, votes on my blog are in favour of a Cloud Learning Environment  - see

OR read about it on Steeve Wheeler blog -my guest post :) :

The Wisdom of clouds

Please Vote and RT :)



Santanu Vasant
1:38pm 3 April 2010

I think the question should be - is the Blackboard VLE dead...hmmm, that's an open question...! I suppose with all these technologies we need to see the impact on the results of students (this seems to be what the government are interested in, at Secondary and FE Level)  and the quality of their student experience - do they (and the staff for that matter) like using the VLE, what is it used for (as  Gráinne Conole mentioned earlier)? What's in it for the staff to make lovely resources when there's a shift of emphasis on being 'good researchers' and bringing in money for a Higher Education Institution...

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