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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Creating a Framework for Learning: The Critical Analysis of a Virtual Learning Environment Developed for Use With Trainee Teachers

Michael Waring.

This paper discusses the design, implementation and critical analysis of a virtual learning environment (VLE) that was created to provide a flexible and progressive framework to enable initial teacher trainees to take responsibility for and direct, their own learning as part of a one year postgraduate certificate in education course at the University of Durham, England.

As part of a broader contextual framework working to ensure that trainees consistently accessed reflective practice and a researching pedagogy, the VLE was organised around a number of independent, and yet interrelated zones. These zones in their essence varied from predominantly information recall to those that explored pedagogical aspects in conjunction with the extension of the subject content knowledge of the trainees (and their mentors). Significantly, a primary intention was to highlight and extend the trainee’s appreciation and application of a critical pedagogy, at the same time as minimising the potentially overwhelming organisational and administrative burden and concerns that confront trainees as part of the course. A qualitative analysis of student discussions and reflections examines the ways in which the VLE was (un)successful in achieving the objectives. Recommendations on the future evolution and enhanced differentiation of the VLE for trainees are also made.


Michael Waring  (United Kingdom)
Senior Lecturer
School for Health
University of Durham

Dr. Waring is a Senior Lecturer in the School for Health at the University of Durham. He has co-ordinated postgraduate teacher education courses in PE at Durham, as well as at other higher education institutions in England.

  • Virtual learning environment
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Initial teacher education

(30 min Conference Paper, English)