E-learning and Virtual Learning Environments.
E-learning and Virtual Learning Environments

E- learning and on line learning are used to describe the use of ICT in teaching and learn-ing. E-learning is not confined to the classroom but can take place any where and at any time and therefore makes the user independent of a taught curricula.

E-learning is about making learning more flexible by:
  • Providing access a range of resources that might not be available elsewhere e.g. multi-media, video and animation
  • Giving control over to the user as to when and where they study
  • Allowing pupils to develop at their own pace
  • Providing a pupil centred learning environment tailored to meet individual needs
  • Providing timely individual feedback through computer assisted assessment

E-learning provides a range of technologies including:
  • Generic software applications, word processors, spread sheets, and statistical tools Pu-pils can use these tools to develop ideas and skills and present their results and findings
  • Subject specific software - including image manipulation, animation, web design, 3D modelling. Pupils can use these to explore and develop visual ideas
  • Presentation technologies - including interactive whiteboards, projectors and presenta-tion software
  • The Internet - which provides access to a range of digital resources including on line li-braries, databases. Using the internet can support resource based learning
  • Conferencing - which includes e-mail, discussion boards, bulletin boards and chat tools that can support a range of collaborative activities
  • Multimedia - can support a variety of learning styles and includes the use of images, sound, video and animation. Some pupils are visual learners and can express ideas using a combination of media others might prefer to watch listen and experience
  • Computer assisted assessment - automatic on-line testing
  • Computer assisted learning - using the computer to support learning e.g.online tutorials that might include video or animation and feedback within a structured framework. that can support their knowledge and understanding of a topic
  • Video conferencing - involves the use of audio and visual communication and can be used to share ideas collaboratively using an online whiteboard. e.g.net meeting
  • Steaming - digital audio and video delivered via the web and gives pupils access to real situations that might otherwise be inaccessible
  • Simulations and Models - enables pupils to explore real world models and develop prac-tical skills in a safe environment
  • Games - learn through experimentation - interact with other in a simulated environment
  • Visualisation tools - tools used to represent complex information

Virtual Learning Environments

Any of the above technologies can be used independently, but it is by combining a range of communication technologies that will create a Virtual learning Environment (VLR). To-gether they will provide opportunities for students to learn in new ways and for them to en-gage more actively in their learning.

Many of the technologies that can support e-learning are available in our school. However, they may not be available in one place. As art educators we need to be able to access the tools as and when we need them and while the overall situation nationally is improving lat-est statistics indicate that there are still only small numbers of computers available in art departments.

At present the development of Virtual Learning Environments has largely been dominated by research and development in the FE and HE sectors.

What are the implications for art and design?

At the time of writing there is no clear strategy that is informing the thinking about e-learning within the art and design community. Individual departments are beginning to de-veloping their own electronic resources and there are numerous a websites that offer on line tutorials or provide opportunities for the user to experiment with specific process.

In addition there are a number of organisations that are developing online resources for use with art education.

Learners should have:

  • More ways to learn: the chance to develop the skills you need for participating fully in a technology-rich society. Along with listening and reading, individuals will be spending more time learning in groups, working with other learners, being creative, learning through chal-lenging activities and materials that adjust to the level and pace appropriate to you, and with clear personal goals that you help to set
  • More subjects to choose from: you should have access to subjects taught through part-nerships between schools, colleges, and universities, or other sources of adult learning, through carefully designed materials, with expert support online, and networking with your peer group, in your community or workplace, choosing from a wide range of topics pro-vided by accredited learning and training providers
  • More flexible study: you will have more choice about where, when and how you study, making it easier for you to create your own mix between studying in a place with other learners, learning at work, learning at home, and learning online
  • Easier ways to try things out: if you're not sure you're interested in further learning, there will be online access to informal tasters, linked to leisure or domestic activities, enabling you to progress to the next stage by means of highly motivating short modules, as and when you wish
  • A personal online learning space: where you can store electronically everything related to your learning and achievements, course resources, assignments, research, and where you can plan your next steps, and build links for professional advice and support. And being online, it will be accessible from home, from school, and, in the longer term, from each new organisation as you progress
  • Help to move on: you can find out online what courses are available, and which ones might suit you best, with online questionnaires to assess where you are now, where you want to be, and how to get there

The Department for Education and Skills new e-strategy underpins the Department's five year strategy for children and learners which seek to improve every aspect of education. 'The e-strategy is a system wide approach to the application of ICT in education from Key Stage 1 to Higher Education. In the e-strategy there are clear priorities which are de-signed to impact on the quality of teaching and learning at all stages of a student's educa-tion. There is a strong emphasis on personalisation and the continuity of learning between sectors, and beyond the educational institution.'

Download the report from:

Find out more

Further Information on the governments E-strategy can be found at: