Next Generation Digital Learning Environments

The Jisc codesign challenge launched on 31st October - we are asking open questions and eliciting opinions from across the sector. What is the future for next generation digital learning systems?


  1. The majority of virtual learning environments and similar systems currently used in higher and further education have their roots grounded in the pre social media era, and aligned with the teaching ideas of the time. As new technologies have emerged and become popular they have been bolted on to existing systems, sometimes making other functionality redundant or even unusable. At the same time we have seen behavioural changes across society, and in education we have a student and staff body that is, potentially, more digitally connected than ever before; unconstrained by space and time and able to access information and engage with others as they need. In this modern connected environment we need to ask if current systems are fulfilling the needs of our institutions, it is time to think about the next generation of learning environments?

    What possibilities now exist to create the next generation of learning environments? How can we harness the power of social connectivity to allow people to come and learn when they need answers to their problems? How can we provide them with a system that allows social learning and still provides essential assessment and accreditation? Is it possible to create chameleonic virtual environments that are responsive to staff teaching needs and adaptive to students as they go through their learning? Can we bridge the physical and virtual learning environments in a way that is seamless, and unbound by the formal and informal learning spaces?

  2. Simon Wood was straight out of the gate pointing to the challenge on the Jisc website.
  3. Followed by Dave Cormier and Sarah Davies discussing learner responsibilities
  4. At the same time the discussion page was launched.
  5. Sukhtinder Kaur chimed in on the blog with a couple of great comments, but especially this point...
  6. My question is to what extent do we need to bridge physical and virtual learning environments? I think maybe here the design and ‘use of’ of the online space very much influences engagement in such a space as well as the need and desire to provide opportunities for further ‘social learning’.
  7. As North America woke, Scott Robison came in with...
  8. And Donna Lanclos responding on her blog, expressed her hopes and fears for a next gen learning environment (fears not included here - go read and respond on her blog ;-)

    My hopes are that this is an opportunity to de-center platforms, and to re-imagine teaching and learning around the values of scholarship that we discussed at length at TriangleSCI, and were earnestly trying to get at during the Critical Thinking Symposium.

    That is be a way to enact and make visible the networked human processes of scholarship. That it be a way to fight the reduction of academia to a factory for publications and “employable” students. A way to have more humanity, and more and more varied kinds of humans, participating in and producing scholarship. That this can be another chance for us to direct more of the conversations around teaching and learning and scholarship, rather than simply react to these persistent outside forces.
  9. Simon Wood spent the day reflecting on the challenge, point me at some great resources - finally toward the end of the day he made an really interesting point in a great blog post:

    The VLE vendors have been stuffing more and more tools in there (each one of them just about “good enough”). Maybe to create a swiss army knife, or perhaps as yet another “sweetener” to encourage institutions to pick their product. But we can’t blame them; it works – the institutions buy it.


    Not students. Not teachers. Institutions.