Solstice 2008 and Exit Strategies for VLEs

Today I’m at the Solstice conference, this is now an annual e-learning conference, but creating a lot deeper thinking spaces for people to engage in discourse. The event is usually preceded by a research panel session and this helps to frame the discussions in the main conference.

There were a lot of great sessions today and the keynotes were excellent. One of the presentations that got me thinking (and most did) was by Peter Reed and Richard Hall “Pathfinding: the impact of collaborative approaches in embedding elearning.” They discussed in detail the work they had done with web 2.0 tools. They used a lot of phrases and words that were user focused:

“Devolvement of responsibility for the technology”


“Ownership of web 2.0”

The way in which web2.0 was being deployed was extremely strategic and at the same time tailored to individual practice. Many of the learning activities that were discussed were independent of the institutional VLE.

I asked the question:

Is this an exit strategy for your VLE?

Richard responded that it wasn’t the intention and that if anything the approach is more about spreading risk.  This lead into a discussion about the role of the VLE in this instance, and the fact that should any of the web 2.0 tools cease to be or there is a loss of service, then the VLE was there in the background. But what if the risk were reversed? What if the VLE was taken away from the institution?

Richard replied that he had confidence that e-learning would continue, using the tools and approaches they had deployed. Thoughts…

This was a good conference for this type of discussion and I’m sure that lots of people had similar experiences. However, if this event should be on your calendar for next year, and you’re a vegetarian, bring your own Sandwiches 🙁


  1. Hummmmmm. . . .
    it’s interesting how quickly practice becomes established, 4-5 yrs ago H.E. was just slowly waking up to VLEs, and even now only just beginning to accept them. perhaps its the notion of ‘established practice’ that needs examining . . . .

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