PLEs reflect the needs of a student information gatherer. VLEs (aka LMSs) reflect the classroom and institution online. (PLEs vs VLEs) Blackboard Vista is a VLE. Its competitors are all VLEs. Vista is the worst VLE of them all as its designed to host multiple institutions in one site. The GeorgiaVIEW project takes the VLE approach to the extreme by getting a number of institutions to collaboratively host together (though the technology doesn’t scale out to 170,000 active users).
The questions I have though is: Are VLEs worse than PLEs? Would students learn more through PLEs?
Back when I had direct instructor contact, instructors wished to combine multiple classroom meeting times into one WebCT CE or Vista online section. The universal reason being so all the students studying the same topics could discuss these topics. This was before social networks… unless you want to count the now defunct sixdegrees.com? The idea being that student interaction is where they would learn.
Bill Huitt describes the classroom model as old world, without foundation, and eventually will collapse to the dismay of educational administrators everywhere. The student-teacher relationship is the key to the learning.