e-Learning and Pedagogy activities are being broadly grouped under two themes: Designing for Learning (with a practitioner planning focus on e-Learning) and Understanding my Learning (with a learner reflection focus on e-Learning).

e-Learning Pedagogy programme

e-Learning and Pedagogy activities are being broadly grouped under two themes: Designing for Learning with a practitioner planning focus on e-Learning and Understanding my Learning with a learner reflection focus on e-Learning).

Designing for Learning

Designing for Learning with a practitioner planning focus on e-Learning explores the process of designing, planning, sequencing or orchestrating learning tasks which may include the use of e-Learning tools. Outputs from this theme will help practitioners to make effective decisions about the use of e-Learning, and will help to support the effective design and use of learning design tools.  Read a detailed overview of these activities, together with commentary on how the outcomes and recommendations are being taken forward, in Designing for Learning: An update on the Pedagogy strand of the JISC eLearning programme [Word]

Understanding my Learning

Understanding my Learning with a learner reflection focus on e-Learning) explores the learner perspective on e-Learning. This theme of activities focuses on issues such as perception, participation, the value and meanings learners attach to e-Learning opportunities, and learner differences. Outputs from this theme will help to inform all those involved in the support of student learning with ICT, and to promote the development of effective environments for learning. Read more about the background and rationale to Understanding my Learning [Word]

The following are some of the issues that the JISC funded e-Learning and Pedagogy programme will be addressing in consultation with practitioners from the JISC community.

  1. How can we enhance current knowledge about what constitutes effective practice in e-learning?
  2. How can we support practitioners with their use and understanding of e-learning?
  3. How can we promote the development of terminology and frameworks that will improve understanding and sharing of practice in e-learning?
  4. What are the current approaches to the design of e-learning activities and how can these be developed in the future to ensure that we are using sound pedagogical models?

Definition of e-Learning

Throughout this programme, e-Learning is defined as ‘learning facilitated and supported through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).’ The e-learning and Pedagogy programme aims to ensure that e-Learning, as practised in UK HE and FE, should be ‘pedagogically sound, learner-focused and accessible.’ The general background for this programme is the ongoing need to support practitioners in realising this aim.


A more specific context is given by the following developments:

Widespread implementation and increasing use of Virtual Learning Environments in UK HE and FE has led to demand from practitioners for more effective guidance on good pedagogical practice. A specific call has been for help in designing e-Learning activities in these environments.

Developments in international standards and specifications for learning content offer increasingly powerful ways of describing educational materials. These open standards also allow different e-Learning tools to be drawn together in a common environment. The JISC e-learning Frameworks’ programme will see the emergence of a technical framework to support the development of flexible learning systems for UK HE and FE. The JISC Frameworks Programme, which aims to ‘Develop and evaluate a framework to facilitate interoperability across learning, teaching, research and their supporting systems,  will also inform these developments.

The focus has now moved from specification of learning objects to specification of learning activities. Developments in learning design offer new ways of integrating materials and activities in a pedagogically informed way. They also offer richer frameworks for modelling learning interactions in virtual environments. So far they have not been widely available to practitioners.

The Government's e-Learning strategy consultation document, Towards a unified e-Learning strategy, points to the need for effective learning design tools to help practitioners to develop and deliver their own learning activities.

There is evidence that neither learning object metadata, nor learning environments, nor existing practitioner-based vocabularies for describing learning and teaching, are in themselves effective in supporting the development and transfer of effective e-pedagogical practice.

There is a growing and related awareness of a need for effective dialogue among practitioner communities, educational research communities and developer communities (both systems and standards), who share a common focus on learning interactions and activities.

Aims of the programme

Given this context, the e-Learning and Pedagogy programme will have two related aims to:

  1. Provide the post-16 and HE community with accurate, up-to-date, evidence- and research-based information about effective practice in the use of e-Learning tools
    The programme will scope the range of available information on pedagogy for e-Learning, drawing on the practitioner, researcher and developer communities. It will evaluate the approaches that seem effective for learners, and the forms of information and support that are relevant to practitioners. Further research and development may be promoted to fill significant gaps in the knowledge base.
  2. Promote the application and development of e-Learning tools and standards to better support effective practice
    The programme will explore applications and approaches that support the design and delivery of learning activities, including learning design tools and commercial learning environments. The focus will be on evaluating specific applications of these tools, in order to build up a repertoire of effective models and to identify those approaches that are both useable by practitioners and effective for learners.


Objectives of the e-Learning and Pedagogy programme are to:

  • review and – where possible – to enhance current knowledge about effective pedagogies for e-learning
  • explore how this knowledge can be effectively applied by practitioners in developing e-learning and teaching practice
  • promote the development of terminology and frameworks that will improve understanding and sharing of practice in e-learning
  • investigate approaches to the design of e-learning activities and make recommendations for further development (of software, of guidelines or of standards)
  • develop recommendations and resources for the community, e.g. practical toolsets, methodologies etc.

In pursuing these objectives JISC will:

  • work closely with partner agencies and concurrent projects
  • consult with existing practitioner networks and JISC user groups
  • review existing resources and work-in-progress, identifying key lessons and significant gaps
  • commission a limited number of desk studies
  • commission evaluative projects to investigate applications and approaches to learning design
  • support an ongoing process of collation, synthesis, review and planning in relation to programme outcomes
  • create coherent tools and resources to communicate programme outcomes

Programme management

The workplan for the programme is being agreed and monitored by a Steering Group composed of members of the JISC Learning and Teaching committee. This includes observers from several key partner agencies.

The programme has established a working group of experts, which will support the ongoing collation, synthesis and review of programme outcomes and contribute to forward planning. Members will be drawn from the initial scoping meeting in Warwick 2003, from partner agencies and contacts, and from contributors to the programme’s activities.


Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 December 2003
End date
1 July 2007
Working Groups
Strategic Themes