So what's a DLE?

A Digital Learning Environment (DLE) is an online space that is used to support learning and related administrative processes.

Similar terms may be a Managed Learning Environment (MLE) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

A DLE is used to support and supplement teaching & learning, not tied to the 'classroom', allowing learners to continue learning at their own pace, any time, anywhere.  It should provide learners with access to a learning environment where they can find all the course and learning content, ask questions, share resources and ideas and engage in tasks.


  • helps growth of leaders and the church
  • helps create community
  • accessible anywhere, any time and at your own pace
  • suits different learning styles
  • opens materials to new groups in the region
  • improves accountability and assessment
  • legal and governance benefits of recording training and checking understanding
  • more engaging for new generations
  • allows the classroom to be more creative and inspirational
  • brings potential for income streams from online learning

Blended Learning

Blended Learning is a term used to describe a learning programme that involves the combination of web-based digital media and resources with a more traditional face-to-face classroom, workshop or lecture style approach - the latter requiring the physical presence of an instructor or course leader and the learner.  Blended learning gives particular advantages when the learners may live busy lives and are only able to attend a traditional full-time teaching environment typical of most schools and universities.

Typical Features of a DLE

A DLE may include the following features (click on the arrows to open more details about each):

  • Syllabus and any course manuals
  • Course content usually in the form of web pages for some or all of the course depending if it is blended learning or stand-alone e-learning
  • Administrative information about the courses
  • A notice or announcement board for current information relating to the course
  • Additional resources relating to a course such as links to sites, videos, presentations, etc.
  • Web-conferencing tools
Assessment of a learner's understanding can take place using a variety of tools:
  • Written or video feedback by the course leader
  • Self-assessment multiple choice quizzes/tests normally scored automatically
  • Records of attainment
  • Peer assessment of work
  • Badges to create a sense pf achievement and progress reports
Resources to accompany a course
  • Documents, pdfs & presentations
  • Course handbook
  • Video, audio & links

Personal portfolio

  • Coursework
  • Resources
  • Certificates
  • Achievements

Learners can share with each other using the following features:

  • Discussion groups
  • Feedback, grading, advice
  • Chat
  • News and events
  • Sharing links & resources
  • Recording best practice
  • Encouraging peers


VLE Structure diagramWith any DLE there are three groups of people that interact through the system.  


The administrator will often set up the system and keep user profiles, enrolments and course information up-to-date, answer any general queries and resolve technical issues.


The course facilitator will usually be a teacher or lecturer and who has some understanding of how to add content but will not usually be an expert in the DLE set up and configuration.  It is important that the facilitator understands the benefits of the DLE and tries to maximise its effectiveness in teaching the materials in the best way. The facilitator will usually be responsible for creating courses, quizzes and discussion groups, commenting on discussions and grading submissions.


The learner will not be expected to be an IT expert but will require rudimentary skills in creating electronic documents and knowing how to use a computer keyboard and mouse, etc.  

Learners may often be required to fulfil certain online criteria such as adding to discussion groups and commenting on others, sharing ideas, etc in order to achieve the necessary grade.

Last modified: Thursday, 8 November 2018, 12:16 PM