Changing the way we design learning

A key driver for many institutions undertaking a review of their VLE is the desire to move away from the VLE as merely a repository of learning content and to use it to support various forms of interactive and collaborative learning.

This is in line with a general shift away from viewing students as passive consumers of a defined curriculum and viewing them instead as active participants in their own learning and co-creators of knowledge.

Digital tools can facilitate this but only if the learning experience is designed in such a way. We need to move away from merely creating static learning content to designing effective learning activities.

Learning design is outside the scope of this Toolkit but there are many excellent resources available to provide support to the academic community and links to some of these are included in the resources at the end of this section.

See also the section on Changing practice without changing VLE.

One of the most important changes was to stop rolling over content automatically from year to year as we had traditionally done. Academics complained that this gave them a lack of flexibility in changing learning design and students found a lot of material that was out of date.

Farzana Latif, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager,
University of Sheffield

In several of the institutions, the student experience was enhanced through a complete review of the material as it was transferred over. [Institution name] used a course review type process as part of the change methodology. Whilst [product name] was often cited as being the reason for the improved student experience, it is more likely that it was the material review, restructure and extra support to the VLE as part of the transfer which actually enhanced the student experience rather than the technology itself.

Extract from a business case following a VLE review