The focus of X4L is on projects that will foster change in online learning and teaching by exploring the potential of re-purposing and sharing content for use in learning. Part of this activity is to explore the process of integration or plugging in of usable objects into online learning such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).

Exchange for Learning (X4L) programme

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X4L Staff development resources: Promoting emerging practice in e-Learning

X4L has been motivated by the imperative to make the most of the considerable investment that has taken place in a range of content which has high potential value for use in learning. X4L was lead by 31 projects from across the UK and involves more than 140 institutions and teams from colleges, universities, libraries, JISC services, local authorities and commercial companies. 

It is clear that colleagues in the classroom wish to actively take a role in defining the kinds of content that would best fit their learning aims, and for national agencies and support services to work to provide the tools and infrastructure to allow this exchange of learning to take place. This is not a simple step, however it has been recognised at a high level that the key to sustainability and widespread adoption of electronic learning materials, is to unlock the potential of the work taking place in a number of complementary areas. This could be seen as the first step in exploring the potential for this exchange.

The programme explored the re-purposing of existing and forthcoming JISC funded content suitable for use in learning. The programme also encompassed content created by other bodies and agencies active in this area where intellectual property rights allow for educational use in FE and HE, or can be negotiated. Part of this activity was to explore the process of integration or "plugging-in" of usable objects into online learning such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and (MLEs).

Pedagogical outcomes are at the basis of the X4L programme. The programme focussed on learning activity – what the learner does – and on intended learning outcomes and will include an emphasis on working with current and/or intended users of the learning objects. JISC does recognise that there are different levels and approaches to using content for learning. We used existing tools and resources that were available at the start of the project.  There were 3 projects developing tools and a pilot learning materials repository which formed Strand B of the X4L programme. 

X4L has the potential to greatly benefit the UK FE and HE communities. Through the experiences and outcomes of the 31 lead projects all colleges and universities will be able to share in the new technologies and studies developed by the programme.

X4L Phase 2 provided the opportunity to:

  • increase the value of and access to learning materials produced as part of X4L and other publicly-funded programmes by re-using them and depositing them in Jorum
  • increase the value of collections of resources that have been digitised as part of public initiatives by repurposing them for use in a single curriculum area
  • build upon work previously undertaken by perfecting the repurposing process and extending this to reuse, with a particular focus on establishing effective workflow processes

Phase 2 concluded the work of the X4L Programme by taking forward outstanding issues identified in the X4L Review. 

As well as repurposing and reusing learning materials and depositing these in JORUM, projects explored how establishing effective workflow processes might contribute towards successful re-purposing and re-use. Workflow processes for activities from resource discovery and selection through learning design and the learning process, metadata creation and copyright clearance for deposit in Jorum were included. Elements of workflows included staff roles and learner activities as well as exploring amendments to institutional policies and procedures that may be required to ensure this activity is sustainable. As well as learning materials, use cases and scenarios describing how the workflows contribute towards successful re-purposing and re-use were produced. Case studies also include an exploration of the implications, benefits and opportunities of re-purposing and re-use for learners, teachers and support staff. 

Five projects were funded to repurpose and reuse e-learning materials for specific learning objectives in the context of HNCs/HNDs and/or Foundation Degrees.  At the Programme start-up meeting on 23rd March 2005 projects were given information by X4L Phase 1 project staff about how they approached IPR and 3rd party rights clearance and resource discovery.  Projects were also given information on Jorum and how they can work with the Jorum team.  There was also the opportunity to discuss how projects can share information and resources with each other. As part of the meeting, project managers gave a 10-minute introduction to their project for the benefit of the rest of the group and Jorum team. Presentations from the start-up meeting are available at the foot of this page.

Associated activities 
Programme Advisory Board 
X4L review


The main objectives of this programme were to:

  • use and develop the best available tools to explore whether repurposing content can become a popular, sustainable way of producing e-learning materials for the future
  • increase the numbers of people in institutions with the necessary skills to repurpose learning objects
  • expose and begin to tackle the challenges associated with repurposing learning objects
  • begin to populate a national repository with repurposable learning materials, case studies and exemplars

Proposals for projects in the X4L programme were invited through  JISC circular 2/02 and  JISC circular 9/04.

Associated activities

  • There is an associated EFX project providing guidance and advice on evaluation with the FAIR and X4L projects.
  • A small focus group has been set up to look at licences for the deposit, use and re-use of learning materials, called Share Alike for UK Education. 
  • Accessibility of Learning Materials - a supporting study by Techdis. The report of the study for X4L is at the foot of this page. This study has received great interest at national level and, as a consequence, Techdis is now leading a cross sector multiple agency initiative, involving the DFES, BECTA, NIACE LSDA and CETIS, to further develop this work to develop an approach for institutions and provide contextual examples of practice. For further advice and guidance on accessibility and learning materials, please contact the Techdis team.
  • X4L Phase 2 from March 2005 to October 2006

Programme Advisory Board

An Advisory Board is working with the Programme Manager in overseeing the X4L Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects with particular reference to the broad aims of the X4L Programme and the JISC Information Environment Development. Please see the document at the foot of the page for a list of the members and their affiliations.

Terms of reference

  • work with the Programme Manager in overseeing the X4L projects, with particular reference to the broad aims of the X4L Programme and the JISC Information Environment
  • work with all the project cluster groups to help ensure that links between these groups and themes emanating from them are identified and fed into the overall running of the programme
  • offer advice on the direction of individual projects where necessary, and to help the Programme Manager identify synergies between projects
  • offer advice to the programme manager on developing practices and standards that the X4L projects and the JISC Executive should be aware of to take the programme to successful completion
  • offer advice on dissemination, exit strategies and evaluation for the programme and projects.To have contact with any consultants working on behalf of JISC in these areas, especially in evaluation
  • act as champions of the X4L programme, promoting outcomes and outputs within the community
  • advise the JISC Executive and where necessary the JIIE and JLT committees on additional areas of work that could enhance the objectives of the programme
  • identify synergies with developments and organisations both outside and within the JISC community including making links with related international activity


  • Presentations are at the foot of the page
  • X4L Phase 2 programme meeting 23 March 2006
  • Presentations are at the foot of the page  

X4L review and final report

  • aA review of the X4L programme (as at May-June 2004) was carried out to inform the scoping of and priorities for a follow-on programme in 2005. 
    See X4L Review 
  • Final report on the impact of the programme


Documents & Multimedia

Start date
1 June 2002
End date
1 September 2006
Strategic Themes