Creating a managed learning environment (MLE) Archived
MLEs are concerned with whole institutional systems – involving the joining-up or interoperation of several separate systems – Student Record Systems, Library Systems, Management Information Systems, VLEs, timetabling systems and so on.
This definition, that an MLE is the joining-up of existing technical systems, does not elaborate on the purpose of this action. What do we want from MLEs? How does joining up systems give this to us? Who benefits? How much will it cost? Is it worth it? We need to be clear about our purposes and only then should we address other difficult questions such as what systemic effects the MLE will have? How will people’s experience of the institution change? What effect will it have on the work of teachers, administrators, managers, support staff and students? What impact will it have on departments and their interrelationships? These are deep and difficult questions, but if they are not fully explored, MLE development can be a risky business.
The resource we have provided here does not give the answers to these questions; instead it elaborates in some detail the questions that institutions need to tackle to be able to successfully specify, design, implement and benefit from an MLE. It also provides a huge resource base of other people’s and institutions’ experiences and advice, and tries to do so in a way that is accessible to all the people who need to be involved – managers, technical staff, teachers, support staff and so on.
Although authored in 2003, the advice and guidance is relevant today. For example the sections ‘Understanding Your Organisation’, ‘Gathering Requirements’ and ‘Implementation’ are useful whatever system you are developing and especially when considering how systems will interact with each other.