What is a Managed Learning Environment?
Managed learning environments, or MLEs, are software systems that are configured to help a facilitator manage the education process. This is in contrast to a virtual learning environment, where the focus is on the tools used in the process of teaching in an online setting. Essentially, a managed learning environment helps to set the perimeters of the learning experience, and makes it possible to standardize the resources used in learning in a manner that results in measured results.
In many ways, it is helpful to see a VLE as a component or subsystem of the broader application of the managed learning environment. The work of the MLE directly relates to the features included in a virtual learning environment, in that the managed learning environment focuses on the proper usage of those features or tools by persons who are participating in the class or seminar. The managed learning environment allows the teacher or facilitator to indicate when chat sessions are available, determine the time periods for actively taking an exam, and how long lessons and materials for a given section of the course are available for viewing.
Managed learning environment software can be utilized in a number of settings. Corporations can make use of the software in developing programs for new employee orientation, or customer education. Managed learning environment software is also helpful in designing and implementing sessions for one and two day seminars. Motivational speakers who make use of web and video conferencing to off hour long seminars to paying guests can make use of both MLE and VLE software to structure and conduct the sessions. Online universities also make extensive use of both managed learning environment software and virtual learning environment software.
While originally envisioned as the framework for bringing the distance learning concept to the Internet, the managed learning environment software of today has become increasingly versatile and suited for use in offline applications as well. At the same time, the software has become more sophisticated and user friendly, making it a viable tool for use in a number of different learning situations.
Sounds interesting, but I feel like working and studying from home will take away from the whole interpersonal experience of seeing people face to face and making things happen. Sure, deals can be closed via skype, but how reliable is that?
Web based e-learning is also becoming increasingly popular. It is likely that in the near future, many students will learn a myriad of topics at home, obtaining degrees for a relatively low cost and flourishing in society from their living room couch.
I remember playing flight simulator as a boy and how much fun it was to feel like I was piloting an actual jet. This software sprang out of a legitimate learning software for pilots, and made the process much safer. The lightheadedness and feelings of flying high with relatively little oxygen are not included though.
MLEs are important in training people to do things that might be dangerous. In this kind of a setting, the mistakes the student makes are not life-threatening, but can be shown to be dangerous in a safe environment. Increasingly, drivers ed classes are being conducted in a computerized space, making the process much safer for the students and for would-be fellow drivers.
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