Students’ experience of component versus integrated Virtual Learning Environments

Weller, Martin; Mason, Robin and Pegler, Chris (2005). Students’ experience of component versus integrated Virtual Learning Environments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(4) pp. 253–259.



The use of virtual learning environments (VLEs) has become increasingly common in most
higher education (HE) institutions. Recent developments have proposed the interoperability
of software systems and content, to create component VLEs in contrast with the integrated,
monolithic ones that are currently prevalent. This paper examines the student experience of
two VLEs, one integrated approach and the other component. In general, students preferred
the component system, although this may have been influenced by other factors such as
performance. Although the study is limited to one cohort of student it makes a number of
suggestions relevant to anyone deploying a VLE. These are that the component approach is a
viable one from a student perspective, the broader context in which the VLE operates is
important in student perception and that poor system performance may have unpredictable
consequences for the learning experience.

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