Science, e-learning interoperability and the discovery laboratory management system
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Most universities and colleges within the UK use institutional or enterprise wide virtual learning environments (VLEs). VLEs can allow educators to create 'blended learning solutions' meaning information technology can be used to support traditional lecture based teaching. Some VLE systems can be considered to be difficult to use, an attribute that is primarily attributed to their size and sophistication. To use them successfully, an institution usually requires dedicated support staff. This paper presents a laboratory based science e-learning system called Discovery Lab Manager. The DLM is an e-learning system which contains some of the features of a VLE but allows tutor near real-time control of what learning material is available to a small group of students. Issues surrounding e-learning software interoperability are presented alongside issues of usability. Whilst enterprise-level VLE systems do have a place within an institution, a case can also be made for smaller more focussed system.