USTLG Spring 2001 Meeting

Developments in Teaching & Learning - the library role

Wednesday 28th February 2001, Lanchester Library, Coventry University

Reports by Linda Graves, Sue House and Louise Graham, University of Glamorgan


An introduction to Managed Learning Environments (MLE’s) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE’s)

Moira Bent, University of Newcastle

The aim of Moira’s presentation was to give an outline of what these terms mean and to list the many other terms that are also used such as Learning Management systems (LMS) and Instructional Management Systems (IMS).

From her reading of the subjects, she defined the MLE as "A system that uses technology to enhance and make more effective the network of relationships between learners, teachers and organisers of learning, through integrated support for richer communications and activities". She went on to describe the characteristics of an MLE as:

The VLE was described as "Components in which tutors and learners participate in on-line interactions including on-line learning" and "a focus for student learning activities and their management and facilitation, along with the provision of content and resources". The characteristics of a VLE were given as:

Moira listed some examples of a VLE as:

In a show of hands, it was revealed that the ratio of institutions which had either signed up for/are pursuing Blackboard and WebCT was 2 : 1.

After the definitions, she raised some of the issues that MLEs/VLEs can involve for libraries. For example, have university managers thought through the role of libraries and librarians in the virtual learning environment, and how much involvement should we have? How much use is being made of these packages to teach information skills, something that could be of great help in the future? This is significant as the barriers between distance and on-campus learning will become much more fuzzy.

Her parting shot was that JISC sees VLEs/MLEs as an essential part of the twenty first century university.


A handout entitled "MLE’s and VLE’s – a few references" was provided.

The Powerpoint presentation and Web presentation are available.


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