Managed Learning Environments
Learn more about a Managed Learning Environment (MLE) and its place in schools.
What is an MLE?
A managed learning environment (MLE) is a collection of software tools and digital content that supports learning. Two well known software tools in an MLE are:
- the Student Management System (SMS) that controls the administration and management of student and staff information; and
- the Learning Management System (LMS) that controls much of the curriculum and pedagogical modules.
The diagram below shows the MLE with four groupings of tools and content, that are able to interoperate via the enabling services, as indicated in the middle circle.
Over time, many other services and applications will interact with each other within the MLE. Such modules can include: authoring and publishing, collaboration, digital repositories, ePortfolios, social networking, content and library management systems etc. Some of these are available as Web 2.0 tools.
Why is the Ministry involved in MLE?
Sector interest in online learning is very high both in New Zealand and overseas. The Ministry has acted to ensure schools have appropriate advice and a reasonable selection of products which deliver services to meet the changing educational needs of today’s students. As such, the Ministry is directing and promoting the development and use of MLE in New Zealand schools.
The largest challenge in this ‘mash-up’ (which we refer to as an MLE) approach is interoperability - the way the parts interact and play together. The Ministry can add value in this area by providing direction and encouragement to vendors to work together to make their products interoperable.
About a quarter of New Zealand schools currently have and use an LMS (in contrast, over 95% of schools have and use an SMS). However the interest in ePortfolios and/or LMS and associated tools is high and growing. Early intervention by the Ministry, providing guidance and direction to schools and vendors before too many schools have made decisions and invested, is preferable to waiting any longer.