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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Choosing and Moving VLEs in Technical; I'm just looking around at what's been successful in the world of VLEs. Our VLE is up for renewal as ...
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    Choosing and Moving VLEs

    I'm just looking around at what's been successful in the world of VLEs.
    Our VLE is up for renewal as I suspect are many others who started three years ago.

    Although some work has been put into the current VLE, due to the interface and speed issues, less that 10% of the teaching staff logged on to it last month.

    I was interested if anybody has had much luck in changing VLEs and launching a new one and if so what did you move from to.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    We moved from Learnwise (shockingly bad - slow, poor interface, lack of the promised integration) to Fronter (still pretty bad - slow, poor interface, terrible support), both being products procured centrally by the LEA through top sliced funding.

    Both systems only ever attracted the use of about 5% of our staff - but this isn't necessarily down to the software to be fair, it is down to a VLE being one of those systems that requires senior leadership to drive its usage. It can't just be left to the teachers, as with all people they will take the path of least resistance and ignore it.

    What needs to happen is a central VLE policy to be created mandating its use. This way, it can be introduced in the best way possible, providing the best learning experience to the children, whilst not just implementing a VLE for the sake of it.

    Here, we are going to be re-looking at our VLE at some point in the near(ish) future, due to the above mentioned issues we have with our current one. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll end up going down the Moodle route as this is the best way for us to have a system that we can have complete control over and flexibility with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We moved from Learnwise (shockingly bad - slow, poor interface, lack of the promised integration) to Fronter (still pretty bad - slow, poor interface, terrible support), both being products procured centrally by the LEA through top sliced funding.

    Both systems only ever attracted the use of about 5% of our staff - but this isn't necessarily down to the software to be fair, it is down to a VLE being one of those systems that requires senior leadership to drive its usage. It can't just be left to the teachers, as with all people they will take the path of least resistance and ignore it.

    What needs to happen is a central VLE policy to be created mandating its use. This way, it can be introduced in the best way possible, providing the best learning experience to the children, whilst not just implementing a VLE for the sake of it.

    Here, we are going to be re-looking at our VLE at some point in the near(ish) future, due to the above mentioned issues we have with our current one. I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll end up going down the Moodle route as this is the best way for us to have a system that we can have complete control over and flexibility with.
    I think you have hit the nail on the head here. This is the issue I am having with our VLE, approximately 15-20% off teaching staff are using the VLE at the minute, which is not really good enough. Our Assistant Head is getting me to print off the usernames and passwords for parents this week, but what's the point when staff and students are not really using enough? Like anything in schools, unless Senior Manglement push it, it WILL get ignored. I think more regular training might help, and I kind of like the idea of "Learning Platform Champions" to bolster the use of it, and providing after school drop in sessions maybe, but this needs to come from the top down.

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    I am looking at these free systems.
    Moodle
    Google apps for education
    MS are going to give sharepoint to schools for free at some point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Both systems only ever attracted the use of about 5% of our staff - but this isn't necessarily down to the software to be fair, it is down to a VLE being one of those systems that requires senior leadership to drive its usage. It can't just be left to the teachers, as with all people they will take the path of least resistance and ignore it.
    I'll echo this, we use Uniservity. As a user experience it's somewhere between a caravan holiday and a trip to the dentist. Despite this it still used a lot by some departments because we have SLT pushing it.

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    We use Moodle and have good buy in from a most of the staff. This is helped a lot by an excellent e-learning manager/coach. We're keen to keep developing it and getting feedback form staff on possible improvements.

    We've also recently implemented the ILP module which has replaced plan-it. This means that each students has their own learning plan. The plan also includes a whole heap of information from our MIS system and so provides an excellent one stop shop for information. I very much doubt we would have had the flexibility to do this with anything other than moodle.

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    I'm also looking into these systems:
    Moodle
    Google apps for education

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    GREED's Avatar
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    I have worked with SharePoint in schools, and I miust say without loads of development it is basically a document store. If you want to put your work up as just that, files to get at, then it is great, but as a visual thing I have yet to see a decent example that can match the likes of moodle.

    However, SharePoint as a management system is brilliant, it will do everything for you except (again without development) pretty schooly VLE.

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    Go to Moodle, you won't regret it

    You might need to put a bit of work in at the start to tailor it to your requirements but the power and flexibility you have is unmatched on any other VLE. Start with the new 2.0 release and integrate it with either Live@Edu or Google Apps (should be coming for 2.0 in the next few months), ILPs and the Mahara e-Portfolio system and it opens a lot of possibilities

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    We moved from Uniservity to Frog a few years ago and a number of schools in our LA have since followed us. None of us have regretted it - if you can get over the initial cost then it is well worth it. Every member of the teaching staff, the majority of support staff, students, governors and parents are all using it. It has definitely been worth while.

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    Thanks for your advice gshaw. My only concerns with Moodle is the poor SCORM implementation and the real cost of setting it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by T_Brown View Post
    Thanks for your advice gshaw. My only concerns with Moodle is the poor SCORM implementation and the real cost of setting it up.
    Have to admit SCORM isn't one of my favourite things on there, is that something you do a lot of at the moment? Frog is a quality product for school environments, probably quicker to get up and running but some of the pricing is scary from what I remember seeing of it

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    I have used a number of VLE's in over the past few years Learnwise, Uniservity, Kaliedos, Frog and Moodle I have found Frog to be the best closely followed by Moodle if you have the funding then I think Frog seems the easiest to get users involved in as it is very easy to use for both staff and students, Moodle I have also found to be execellent and because it is open source and free as long as you are willing to do a lot of work at the beginning to set this up.

    The main reasons I prefer Moodle or Frog is they are hosted internally so you are not relying on an internet connection speed when using resources (Video content etc) also you have almost complete control in supporting these particularly in the case of Moodle if you host this yourself.

    We are currently using Moodle having moved from a different platform over the summer someone from here set this up over the summer integrating some of the content from our previous VLE and adding extra funtionality. Staff have received this reasonably well and because it is hosted internally and the performance is a lot better as well as any issues resolved with the VLE are resolved internally much more quickly, it has been received very possitively.

    I have found one of the best ways of getting staff involved is to provide access to useful things like the the Cover list, Heads Bulletin, Staff Time table, Room Bookings, ICT Help desk, School Policies, Calendar showing events such as meetings etc even if you don't commpletely build them into your VLE you can usually link them in so staff are going to one place to access a variety of useful resources.I have also linked in Home Access Plus which someone has developed and is open source and is on the forum (thanks again Nick) http://www.edugeek.net/forums/web-de...cess-plus.html which gives staff and students access to their documents from home and our parental reporting system although both are still in their early stages and have only been released to a few staff and parents for testing and feed back.

    Next get a small number of keen staff as ICT champions one per department if possible and try to get them to develop some resources on their and support them with this.

    I have always tried to get someone from Senior Management onboard Head or Deputy Head as like a few people have said if Senior Leadership aren't behind this then you are probably onto a loser from the start as I have had this exeperience with past VLE's.

    Getting students involved is usually easier than the staff the Social Networking Side of both Frog and Moodle are pretty good and this is usually where you get students in but also useful information and try to make it fun.

    To be honest you have to realise that integrating a succesful VLE into a school isn't short term and is going to take some time and a lot of work.I also usually try to set the VLE as their start page in internet explorer it at least makes everybody aware it is their and what is available.

    Good luck

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    went from Fronter provided by the LA (used by one teacher) to Moodle we host ourselves on Ubuntu/Apache and now we have about 60% using it (only launched it in april!). Really is worth going down the moodle route, its very easy for teachers to get the hang of

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    We use Uniservity and have about 70% of staff using it and 100% of pupils. It isn't perfect and can be glitchy and like any of the externally hosted solutions is at the mercy of connection speeds.
    From the sounds of it this is where frog and moodle excel and the others can't compete as they're not built the same way. That's not to say they're better or worse, just different. They all have pros and cons and you just have to work out what things you need and what you can put up with to get the best solution. Uniservity have just launched a next gen platform called Life. Can't say if it's better than the others on the market but it's definitely a vast improvement on the current one so worth a look.

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