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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, VLE integration - what's it worth? in Technical; Hello, We're thinking of shifting VLEs ... no, this isn't going to be another "Which VLE is best?" thread. A ...
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    VLE integration - what's it worth?

    Hello,

    We're thinking of shifting VLEs ... no, this isn't going to be another "Which VLE is best?" thread. A fair number of VLE providers and content providers are saying we should worry about whether such-and-such a product should offer VLE integration. (I mean products like Iamlearning or Manga High or BrainPOP.)

    These parties may just possibly have a vested interest in saying so, so my question is: what benefits does VLE integration actually bring? If there's more products that can be integrated with (say) Frog than OpenHIVE, is that (other considerations apart) a strong or a weak reason for going with Frog? If we go with OpenHIVE, and then see a product that offers integration with other VLEs but not OpenHIVE, what functionality would we have missed out on and would this be a major issue or just a mild annoyance?

    Thanks,

    Rhadamanthus

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Integration with VLEs fits under 2 categories really ...

    1 - integration of users to allow use of an ID between multiple systems (e.g. your ID gets you onto an authentication portal, a VLE, your desktop, your email, filtering, etc) which could be school-based or hosted outside at a variety of places.

    2 - integration of content / tools so that the relevant materials / tools are available to the relevant user / school. This will range of seamless embedding of resources / tools hosted elsewhere to SCORM based materials which can be populated into a VLE / LP.

    Schools which have a lot of user based activity (mainly secondary and KS2 primary) will be affected by the first, and those who just access resources with no authentication (i.e. relying on school level integration) will tend to opt more for the latter ... in an ideal world it would be both.

    This is a *very* simplified view of it all ... and YMMV at every single school ... and this is before we consider parents / community as users as well.

    Integration (or lack of it) can be a barrier to uptake of a VLE or series of tools doing the same job. This can range from staff resistance, children forgetting the range of passwords they need (the digital native thing is still heavily debated and there is plenty of evidence to show that not all kids are as adept as people make out they will be), tools which are paid for not being used because there is no clear signpost / navigation to get there ...

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    funkyfin2000 (17th February 2012)

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    gshaw's Avatar
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    In my ideal world integration should be at 3 levels...

    - user sign on integration (usually AD based) preferably SSO when inside the network
    - repository integration - single store of resources for tutors that is searchable to avoid duplication of content
    - productivity integration - so students can seamlessly create work in Google Apps or Live@Edu and import it straight into the VLE
    - portfolio integration might be useful as well depending on your target audience

    Having programs that can directly upload work to a student's area on the VLE or mark it automatically takes the product to the next level of functionality imo

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    I've also been led to believe that being SCORM compliant is important if you buy commercial software to use with your VLE. We have a number of subscriptions to languages software that we want to integrate. Another nice feature is to be able to set self-marking tasks such as multiple choice tests etc.

    Hope this helps

    Dave

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    The problem with SCORM is that different folk will sell different versions (1.2, 1.3, 2004) and not all VLEs play happy with some versions so make sure you check. The other issue I have with buying the pre-packaged stuff is the number of publishers that bundle a whole subject / key stage as a single SCORM object ... making it all but useless in many VLEs ... you end up having to extract the resources / activities and then use a SCORM tool (various threads already on here) to rebuild them into manageable units!

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    Interesting question integrating VLEs, we currently have two VLEs one being Frog and the other being moodle. The guy responsible for the moodle one is supposed to be working on integrating them both with single authentication. Frog is AD Authenticated which is great, it does provide OAuth which allows Frog to be the login system for the moodle VLE. No idea if the guy has managed to get this working, currently we have a BAR (point) system on that VLE which is by far the best I have seen. It had been designed for about 3-4 years to what staff did and did not want, gives all sorts of choices and the info is pulled out of SIMs (manually).

    If he can get that done then that website (I believe) can use the same login that users have for Frog. As for Scorm packages we have had a few and seem very basic and slow when accessing (plus it just seems to be a file/folder structure)... so far Scorm packages seem the least of our worries

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    zag
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    Moodle is pretty easy to setup with AD

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