This report explores the contribution that networked technologies can make to support learning during work placements. An educational case study is presented which evaluates the development and implementation of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) amongst a group of undergraduate students studying hospitality and tourism management at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh. The case study reveals that it is feasible to create an online facility that can be beneficial to both students and placement tutors. Moreover, it is revealed that the development of a VLE for placement learning can serve as an effective means of introducing both placement tutors and students to use of computer mediated conferencing as a means of communication.\ud However, it has been found that a number of barriers do exist which prevent the potential of such a facility being fully realised. Principal amongst these barriers were restrictions on student access, and student and staff unfamiliarity with using computer mediated conferencing as a pedagogic tool. It was also found that the preferred use of computer mediated conferencing was to support informal discussion between students and tutors. A more formal use in respect of making connections between placement experience and classroom learning was not in evidence. This is considered to be a missed opportunity. The study concludes that more needs to be done to promote a more 'formal' use of computer mediated conferencing as a mechanism to abstract learning from experience (reflection)
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