Common reasons why Learning Platforms fail – Mike Herrity’s view

At the Learning Gateway Conference today, I listened to Mike Herrity talking about the Twynham School’s Learning Gateway, and specifically about how they got people in their school community using it.

On one of his first slides, there was a statistic that proved they have been doing things right:


During the two February snow days, 94% of our staff and 86% of our students logged in to their Learning GatewayEndquotes

Five common reasons for poor adoption

Then Mike gave his view of the common reasons why Learning Platforms fail to be used widely (and perhaps, why they often don’t meet expectations). And as these are from the perspective of somebody who’d made this successful, they’re worth repeating:

  1. Schools use the term VLE excessively and indiscriminately
  2. The school thinks that the purchase of a Learning Platform will cure world famine and global pandemic
  3. The school spends hundreds of hours deciding which VLE to buy and no hours asking the end user how they would like to use it
  4. Lack of ambition (typified by “we’re going to start small”)
  5. Ignoring the positives and focusing on the negatives

Whilst I know that there are some excellent examples of Learning Platform use in schools, I’m willing to bet that a large proportion of the Learning Platforms aren’t yet realising their full potential.

Mike talked about many aspects of their Learning Gateway - such as its use for the Options process, parental engagement and revision. One of his comments was about the improvement in their exam results - from 61% to 72% to 78% - and how their 'Revision Gateway' had been used most by the C/D borderline boys, and as Mike put it "their CVA is now through the roof".

Mike has published on his blog so much about the journey that Twynham School have been on, the changes that they have made, and the lessons that they have learnt, as well as spending a lot of time touring the country to share them with other schools. Whether you’re interested in the technology side of a Learning Platform, or the lessons on getting people to successfully use a one, then Mike’s blog has something there for you.


As soon as Mike’s presentation is available online, I’ll post a link too

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