The Use of Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education—Content, Community and Connectivism—Learning from Student Users

Guy Brown*, Carly Foster

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Whilst technology enhanced learning has been commonplace in Higher Education for many years, from January 2020 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were forced to rethink their delivery models as a result of the global Covid pandemic. Campuses closed and learners were channelled into existing remote learning technologies. HEIs who had invested in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) were well positioned to deliver high quality on-line education, however, what emerged was mixed practice and evidence many academic teams had under-utilised their VLE platforms and used them as little more than resource repositories. Those HEIs who had developed a clear technology enhanced learning strategy were better able to engage their leaners in immersive and social learning environments and indeed are now more likely better placed to progress towards greater use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality. This chapter summarises key findings of a post Covid study to ascertain learner requirements of a virtual learning environment, and how such a learning platform can be best utilised to move from a content repository, to a structured ecosystem which provides learners with a central curriculum content, interactivity, collaboration, scaffold support and an opportunity to build a connected and engaged learning community. The findings of a small scale study of a single HEI suggests there are fourteen basic principles to encourage ongoing learner engagement and immersion with a VL primarily relating to scaffolding, communication, relationship building and providing ease of access to wider learning resources and technologies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAI, Blockchain and Self-Sovereign Identity in Higher Education
    EditorsHamid Jahankhani, Arshad Jamal, Guy Brown, Usman J. Butt, Eustathios Sainidis, Rose Fong
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9783031336270
    ISBN (Print)9783031336263, 9783031336294
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023

    Publication series

    NameAdvanced Sciences and Technologies for Security Applications (ASTSA)
    ISSN (Print)1613-5113
    ISSN (Electronic)2363-9466

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