E-learning framework
The case for a technical framework to support MLEs and e-Learning Key Concepts The Layered Services Framework Implementation Descriptions of Application Services Descriptions of Common Services Detailed description of Course and Group Management Services  Resources
Executive Summary
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.