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Virtual learning environments in business and management: a review of some recent developments

Morris, Huw and Rippin, Ann (2003) Virtual learning environments in business and management: a review of some recent developments. The international journal of management education, 3 (2). pp. 23-30. ISSN 1472-8117

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Abstract

This paper examines the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in business and management higher education within the UK. Using information from interviews with staff in 10 UK Business Schools and 4 private sector publishers it is argued that the predictions of the most ardent advocates and critics of VLEs are some way from being realised. More specifically it is suggested that these technologies have not yet produced an influx of private sector providers into the market for business and management higher education, nor have they formed a significant component of the international activities of UK based business schools. Where VLEs have been introduced their use has been championed by enthusiastic lecturers and supportive heads of department, rather than imposed by senior managers keen to commodify the work of their staff. There is some evidence of e-learning programmes being launched to exploit what are seen to be new markets for online education, but to date these have generally been small initiatives with limited impact. The biggest area of change has been in the adoption of these new technologies to support mainstream undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. Here the introduction of VLEs has been fuelled by student support and accepted by staff althoughthese developments are expensive, not least for students, and the effect on learning remains difficult to assess.

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