Bennett, Elizabeth (2005) Developing a cross-institutional / cross-sector managed learning environment: a case study. In: ALT-C 2005, 5-8 September 2005, University of Manchester. (Unpublished)

A recent survey, funded by JISC, of 358 HE and FE institutions explored the issues relating to the implementation of MLEs in these organisations. It commented that although the quality of teaching and learning is the key driver for the adoption of an MLE cited by almost every institution, the impact on pedagogy was not yet being felt (University of Brighton, 2003).

This paper describes the implementation of a managed learning environment (MLE) to a Consortium of 31 FE colleges and two HE institutions across the north of England. The project, funded by HEFCE's Restructuring and Collaboration Fund, set out to develop and use ICT based pedagogical tools with a specific objective of transforming students' learning experience.

The MLE comprises a virtual learning environment (VLE), Intralibrary (a digital repository), the use of LAMS (Learning Activity Management System), the development of re-usable multimedia games, an integrating administrative system and establishing specialist pedagogy online communities (SOCs). The MLE supports the administration and delivery of a range of teacher training courses to more than in-service 2000 teachers and trainers. As these users are dispersed between 31 centres, the MLE is designed to facilitate co-ordination and collaboration in the delivery of shared programmes. The project built on the strengths of a long established consortium and developed a range of strategies to help overcome barriers. These included pro active training, reactive help and guidance, dissemination of information, incentives in the form of equipment, recognition and time.

Using external evaluation as well as self evaluation, this paper will explore the extent to which the project's objectives were achieved and the features of the project which support these achievements. The paper outlines the technological, practical and cultural barriers and the ways and extent to which these were overcome.

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