"A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a software system designed to support teaching and learning in an educational setting, as distinct from a Managed Learning Environment (MLE) where the focus is on management. A VLE will normally work over the Internet and provide a collection of tools such as those for assessment (particularly of types that can be marked automatically, such as multiple choice), communication, uploading of content, return of students' work, peer assessment, administration of student groups, collecting and organizing student grades, questionnaires, tracking tools, etc. New features in these systems include wikis, blogs, RSS and 3D virtual learning spaces.
While originally created for distance education, VLEs are now most often used to supplement traditional face to face classroom activities, commonly known as Blended Learning."
"By Spring 2008 the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) expects your learners to have access to a personal online learning space. In England the local authority has been given the responsibility (and the funding) for ensuring that this initial part of a learning platform is made available to your school.
A personal online learning space forms part of a wider set of technologies called a learning platform. It supports learning by providing access to:
- tools - for monitoring and assessing, communication and collaboration, eg email, forums wikis, blogs, and for creating, developing and managing digital content
- an individual area for each learner (and member of staff) where they can store their work and personalise its layout to meet their needs
- safe and secure, anytime/anywhere access to learning resources.
By March 2010 all schools are expected to be using a learning platform which integrates with a management information system. This will simplify the delivery of your regular data returns with your local authority, as well as enabling seamless student transition, saving time and effort. "