My previous post appears to have exposed concerns shared by others about the way in which VLEs/LMSs etc are being integrated and used within our schools. The idea that the “promise” of these systems has yet to be realised is due in part to the change in pedagogical practice that is required of those using them, and in part also beacuse of the rapid changes in the technologies upon which these systems are built.
As we see a move away from a ‘walled garden‘ approach to a more open and configurable concept of a learning management system (or any system for that matter), the issue of interoperability becomes key. Just released is a report from SALTIS in the UK titled “Supporting Interoperable Learning Technology – a strategy for better e-learning in schools“, sent to me this morning by my friend Malcolm in the UK. This is an excellent read for those who may be unfamiliar with this rather technical field, as well as those who are working in the field. The concept of interoperability is well explained and illustrated, as is the historical development of standards which is helpful for those who are trying to ‘catch up’ with what has happened.
There’s also a useful discussion around content vs. community that reflects some of Paul’s comments on in my recent post – the fact that it’s not ‘either/or’, but both. On the topic of content, learning objects get a mention – highlighting the complexity of issues in trying to develop a standard for universally ‘portable’ content elements, and reinforcing for me that there’s still a long way to go yet before we’ll have something truly useful.
The scenario towards the end of the report titled “imagining an interoperable future’ provides a useful insight into what advantages there might be to learners and learning if we can succeed in achieving the interoperability vision outlined in the report. For my money this is an excellent starting point for schools looking at implementing any sort of system – begin by creating your own scenarios and building a picture of what you’d like to see acheived, then set about building it up with the tools and applications that will make it happen.
Download as PDF (2.2Mb, 24pp, published January 2009)