I've just tripped over this which may have been around already, but a search didn't find it: The VLE sucks and this slightly later Future of VLEs
It usually gets referred to as a PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and Steve's stuff about all of that side of things is pretty good. Learning Technology - ALT do a fantastic conference called ALT-C, and you get a lot of discussions about VLE's etc at them (ALT-C 2009: Keynote Speakers, Invited Speakers, and Sponsor Sessions)
There is a fair chunk of research going on about it all (The Personal Learning Environments Blog) and it is being healthily discussed amongst educationalists ... but you get some severe splits about it all ... almost as much as those who like iPhones and those who don't.
A large chunk of the ideals about PLEs is based around independent learning ... and this is a hard concept for some to follow ... and the discussions about getting the right balance between teacher directed learning and independent learning can get heated.
If people are interested in this with an educational hat on then there are a heap more links and referrals out there, and if people are interested technically then keeping an eye on discussions about open source in schools, the use of Google Apps in education (and who you integrate them into your systems), the allowing of personal devices into your networks and systems such as OpenID are good places to look.