This paper introduces a technical framework
designed to support e-learning, and in
particular to provide a basis which enables pedagogic diversity.
This is not intended to be prescriptive,
nor will it deny practitioners or institutions the
capability to deliver distinctive forms of learning. Nor is it intended to restrict the choices
of systems that institutions may purchase (whether commercial, freeware or open
source). Instead, what we hope to present in this document is a set of patterns that can
be used to implement a variety of e-learning strategies.
Although we set out a service framework
for e-Learning, we make no assumptions about
how many services are deployed in a particular instance, or whether services are
delivered by computerised, computer-assisted, or manual processes.
Our starting point has been the very
high level Use Case of learner-centred education.
This is an extreme simplification, and part of the evolution of this framework depends
upon teasing out the complexities of much finer-grained processes and looking at
learning and teaching from a variety of viewpoints.
This framework is very explicitly centred
on the learning and teaching aspects of further
and higher education institutions and organisations in the UK. We are very aware that
this is only one perspective, and there are other areas, such as logistics, HR and
finance, which may also benefit from the approach taken. Although services defined for
this framework may be usable for purposes other than learning and teaching, we make
no guarantees that the service definitions will be suitable for other domains.
It believed that the framework will provide
benefits to teachers and learners by:
- Supporting pedagogic diversity
- Enabling pedagogy-driven implementations
And benefit institutions by
- Making collaboration between institutions easier
- Providing better returns on technology investment
- Enabling faster deployment of technology
- Providing a modular and flexible technology base.
The paper first discusses the rationale
for developing a service oriented framework for
managed learning environments (MLE) and e-learning, and then proposes a framework
with a brief description of each service.
It is intended as a starting point.
The service definitions will need refinement and
expansion and many of the details have to be worked out. Additional services will almost
certainly be identified and some of the existing ones may be merged or dropped. It is
also likely that the standards and specifications listed will not be completely correct, with
new ones emerging from time to time. This document is therefore offered to help open
discussion and we include just one example of how work might proceed to more fully
define the services.