Centralised VLE versus a Decentralised Model

20 09 2010


#PLENK2010 is contrasting personal learning with institutional learning. Since I’m  envolved in both environments this week reading will definitely structure my position.

Martin Weller wrote in an article for a new journal , the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE). His piece was entitled ‘The centralisation dilemma in educational IT’. He argued that there is  a centralisation – decentralisation cycle in educational IT, distributed versions of VLE moved to a central VLE, and we are now seeing a shift back to decentralised cloud services.

The arguments for a centralised VLE are:

  1. Uniformity of student experience
  2. Centralised support
  3. Quality assurance
  4. Efficiency
  5. Robustness
  6. Integration of different tools
  7. Staff development
  8. Platform for expanding elearning offerings

Whereas the arguments for a decentralised model can be summarised as:

  1. Quality: The individual components of an integrated system will not be as good as specialist tools performing any one of these functions
  2. Flexibility
  3. Pedagogic suitability
  4. Relevance
  5. Educator control
  6. Personalisation

The Ed Techie

Geoge Siemens has suggested that LMS in general are the wrong starting point for learning:

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often viewed as being the starting point (or critical component) of any elearning or blended learning program. This perspective is valid from a management and control standpoint, but antithetical to the way in which most people learn today.

An important aspect of the learning environments is that they don’t realize any pedagogical models or create learning for the individuals itself. It demands a context based on a pedagogical idea. The pedagogical idea can be realized and strengthened with appropriate learning environments. It is therefore important to integrate the possibilities with Internet based learning already in the idea—and production phase when developing course content.

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