What is an MLE and why is it not a VLE? SharePoint in Education e-learning series post 5.

July 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: e-learning 

In the first 4 posts of this series so far we have covered what a VLE is, what common features it has (see here and here) and reasons why educational institutions should consider implementation.

Following on from this I wanted to look at the differences between a VLE and what we call an MLE or Managed Learning Environment. Perhaps the best way to start looking at the differences is to look at the diagram below.

Image taken from the Excellence Gateway here

A Managed Learning Environment moves beyond thinking about a learning system to thinking about the operation of the whole educational institution. The primary focus is on the development of interoperability between all systems so that the institution is fully connected online. Whereas an MLE will have a VLE it is not the whole part of the environment. At the same time one of the key elements of the MLE will be to connect the VLE with other aspects of the institutions online environment such as the MIS (Management Information System).

From both the institutional, tutor and learner perspective an MLE is an important development for a number of reasons. The institution has a quick and easy grasp of number of learners on roll and can integrate supplementary information on drop out rates comparing them with the nature of the learners and other associated information. The tutor can monitor the progress of the learners through the learning modules and at the same time supplement this with wider information about the learner from different sources. Finally an MLE helps to create a learner centred environment where the learner has quick and easy access to all the information they need to support their study.

As a result the main advantages of implementing an MLE are:

  • Streamlining of learning resources for students and staff.
  • Instant Access to a rich range of data through one interface which can be accessed remotely.
  • Greater capacity for data exchange between individual silos within an organisation.
  • This in turn can massively reduce the administration burden.
  • Reduction in costs and efficiencies  through streamlined processes and interoperability.
  • Potential to attract a different client base through new methodologies and distance learning.
  • De Montfort University demonstrated that an MLE can lead to lower drop out rates.


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