Virtual Learning Environments: the students' perspective

Chris Turnock, Pat Gannon-Leary

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are used extensively within higher education, primarily as an educational tool, but they 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 a 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 find out what students use on the VLE; To determine what the 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 reccommended 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 perspective on how they used the VLE. Three methods of data collection were used: Online questionnaire (n=407); Diary completed once a week for an 8 week period (n=14); and Focus group: (n=14). Quantitative data provided in the questionnaire and diary were subjected to descriptive statistical analysis whilst qualitative data obtained from all three data collection methods were analysed following the problems of thematic coding. The main study themes were structural consistancy; provision of learning materials; communication; student motivation; collaboration and enhanced use of the VLE.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2007
Event2nd International Blended Learning Conference - Hatfield
Duration: 14 Jun 2007 → …


Conference2nd International Blended Learning Conference
Period14/06/07 → …


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