Virtual Learning Environments: the students’ perspective

Chris Turnock

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This paper reports on a study into how students use a British university’s virtual learning environment based upon the Blackboard programme. The findings are based upon a naturalistic methodology that has triangulated methods and sources of data. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are used extensively within higher education, primarily as an educational tool, but can also have additional functionality. There has been considerable debate, both internal to the university and in the external academic community about the value of a VLE. The need to undertake detailed examination of how students use a VLE has been a recurring theme in this debate. The purpose of this study was to ascertain how students used the university’s VLE. The study’s aims were to: • To find out what students use on the VLE • To determine what students use the VLE for • To investigate student perceptions of the VLE • To find out what additional information and features students would like • To identify factors influencing student usage of the VLE Study methodology followed principles for examining students’ experiences of technology recommended for the JISC e-learning programme and used in the JISC LEX and LXP projects. The study used a naturalistic approach, recruiting student volunteers to complete various tools that would provide a triangulated, essentially open ended approach to obtaining students’ perspectives on how they used the VLE. Three methods of data collection were used: • Online questionnaire (n = 407) • Diary, completed once a week for an eight week period (n = 14) • Focus group (n = 14) Quantitative data provided in questionnaire and diary were subjected to descriptive statistical analysis whilst qualitative data obtained from all three data collection methods were analysed following the principles of thematic coding. The main study themes were structural consistency; provision of learning materials; communication; student motivation: collaboration and enhanced use of the VLE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
    EventIADIS International Conference Wireless Applications & Computing 2007 - Lisbon
    Duration: 1 Jul 2007 → …


    ConferenceIADIS International Conference Wireless Applications & Computing 2007
    Period1/07/07 → …


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