Individualised learning + VLEs = no time left to teach

I’m not quite finished with BECTA’s matrices yet. There is another aspect of their philosopy that worries me even more than their apparent obsession with corporate VLEs. Consider this from the Learning Platforms Matrix

Level 4: Tools provided facilitate the development of interactive schemes and units of work for pupils to work through at their own rate or access individual materials as required. Pupils’ responses and submissions are fed back into the Management Information System (MIS).

…and ask yourself who is supposed to develop these interactive schemes of work? And then, from the same source, read…

Level 4: Staff create electronic materials and allocate to pupils. Pupils access and use specific electronic materials that have been allocated to them according to individual or group needs.

…at which point the other shoe drops. Yes, staff create materials. That would be you, dear reader, would it not? But it gets worse…

Level 4: Pupils design their own learning programmes with support from teachers.

…you are now committed to producing individual materials, for individual students to their own specification! Oh Ted Wragg, where is your caustic tongue in our hour of need?

How long is it going to take you to write a complete set of learning materials for each student? A lot longer than your contracted hours I fear.

Now here’s the heart of it.
Individualised learning + VLEs = no time left to teach.

The sorry truth is that BECTA just has not done its arithmetic. As a result, we are about to watch a re-run of the “human becomes slave to the machine” tragedy that we thought we’d left behind with the end of the 20th Century.

There is another way, but as the old joke goes, you don’t start from here. Instead, start by posing the question “What tools would leave teachers more time to actually teach?” I have strong views on this which I have exercised elsewhere, but for now I shall leave you to speculate on your own answer to that question.


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