15. USING VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS TO PERSONALIZE LEARNING IN U.K. SCHOOLS

A Case Study

Helen Boulton and Lisa Hasler Waters

Abstract

Online learning in the United Kingdom (UK) for younger students has been described by some as a slow starter. Nonetheless, some schools are making good use of technology to enhance learning, where the next generation of technology integration appears to be focused on personalizing learning through the use of virtual learning environments (VLEs). This chapter takes a deeper look at how schools are using VLEs to personalize learning by focusing on five schools across the UK. The schools, which represent a diverse cross-section of primary and secondary schools, demonstrate that personalization is occurring across a continuum that reflects each school’s values and mission.

Discussion Questions

1. The authors note that VLEs typically involve "some type of mediated space where individuals and groups can access information and resources" for learning purposes. Reflect on your own experience of using a virtual learning environment. Which elements supported you most in your learning and progression?

2. Do you think there is a place for virtual learning environments or have other technologies overtaken them?

3. What are the drawbacks to using virtual learning environments in teaching and learning?

4. Which of the case study schools included in the chapter were making the most appropriate use of the school’s virtual learning environment? Why?

5. Where would you place your institution in terms of the continuum described in the chapter (i.e., portaling, emerging, growing, maturing, collaborating, socialising). What evidence do you have to support this?

Additional Resources

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