The authors present a view of the problems related to the role of context in learn-ing and development, individual and organizational, influenced by readings inanthropology, activity theory, and actor-network theory, and of how they relate tothe problems of developing e-learning experiences. Next, they briefly present thecontext engineering approach to information systems development as a frame-work to think and organize the development of virtual contexts for e-learning. Thisapproach proposes to achieve a critical understanding of development as asociotechnical phenomenon within a cultural and historical envelope to provide aframework of development problems focused on the relation between a model ofcontext and its mediators. It also proposes to use contextuality as the key to per-form emancipatory movements while operating on sociotechnical networks. Theauthors then attempt to translate the fundamental ideas and guiding principles ofthis approach to the development of virtual learning contexts, elaborating on someof the learning and development issues that arise.