Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) in teacher education have a short history which is little longer than that of this journal. Twenty years ago they were the province of early adopters only and limited to email and, more unusually, asynchronous conferencing. Today, VLEs are widespread and mainstream, sophisticated and officially sanctioned components of many courses. Research in this field has borne some of the hallmarks of Underwood’s seminal critique of research in education technology more generally, namely, failure to construct and build upon the history of the field; failure to use the language and theoretical perspectives of the field; a focus on technology rather than on its impact on practice; and an over-reliance on qualitative methods. The three snapshots which are used as a basis of the study show, to an extent, that the technology has moved from unreliable and primitive, to reliable, ambient and versatile. Less obvious in these snapshots are any substantial changes in pedagogy over time although social learning theories seem to have increasing prevalence in support of collaborative learning praxis. Throughout the sample, it is notable that the impact of teachers’ online learning on teaching and learning in schools is still relatively rarely investigated.
- Teacher Education