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Evaluating students experiences using a virtual learning environment: satisfaction and preferences

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Virtual learning environments (VLEs) are web-based software systems that enable students to interact with their teachers and classmates, access learning resources without restriction of time and place, and use cutting-edge Information and Communication Technologies. Nevertheless, VLEs are costly to develop and maintain. Clearly, many features of VLEs may not be as useful to learners as designers and stakeholders might think, resulting in waste of resources. With this possibility in mind, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the features of the VLE employed at Middlesex University. To that end, first, a scale with 11 items and 3 sub-dimensions was developed and tested through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses to identify student perceptions of the (1) benefit, (2) satisfaction, and (3) guidance, aiming at identifying student views on how beneficial the system was, whether they were satisfied with it, and how they perceived the guidance provided through it, respectively. Next, the scale was administered to a sample of 278 students to determine whether the perceptions differed depending on campus location, and grade level. Finally, questions were also asked to pinpoint the features of the VLE that the students found most useful and beneficial. Data were analysed through ANOVA, correlation, and rank analyses. Results show that the students’ perception of the VLE did not significantly differ based on campus location or grade level. Two features of the VLE—lecture capture and key concept videos—were the most beneficial resources for the students, whereas “lecture capture with PowerPoint slides and audio only,” discussion forums, and chat rooms, were not preferred. The students were not much enthusiastic to have access to blogs, audio/video conferencing facilities, wikis, or chat either.

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Correspondence to Nazire Burcin Hamutoglu.

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Hamutoglu, N.B., Gemikonakli, O., Duman, I. et al. Evaluating students experiences using a virtual learning environment: satisfaction and preferences. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 437–462 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09705-z

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  • Higher education
  • Usefulness
  • Satisfaction
  • Benefit
  • Guidance
  • Virtual learning environment