Source: Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Vol. 51, No. 1, p. 72–83, 2014.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study will evaluate the engagement of students with the virtual learning environment (VLE) enhancements.
The purpose of this evaluation is to relate a specific virtual framework, designed for students participating on biology modules contained in the Science Extended Degree (SED) course, with levels of student engagement.
The participants were about 280 students, who enrolled to University Science Extended Degree (SED) course in UK.
The university incorporates an intranet system available for teaching and learning to both staff and students and with an integrated virtual learning environment (VLE) – WebLearn.
The SED programme consists of eight modules, two of which are biology.
Data were collected through a questionnaire was given anonymously through WebLearn to students at the end of each module to assess engagement and student satisfaction feedback.
Significantly in this study, students received instant feedback and further direction to improve their learning.
The results indicate that a substantial proportion of students completed all of these assessments, and this appears to be directly linked to attainment of higher grades.
The findings reveal that the VLE model described here seems to be of major benefit to students as a learning tool.
The overriding student attitude towards the VLE indicates that they increasing engage with their subject as they progress through the academic year.
The findings were positive showing that time spent on the test was decreased as the course progressed and there was a positive attitude swing towards learning shown by the students.
Formative assessment was also found to have the added benefit of allowing the students to practise their comprehension of the course material and to gain familiarity with the language in which it is written.
Students are engaged in the process and the outcome clearly demonstrates that the formative assessment is currently having a positive impact on students in terms of participation and the learning strategies that we have successfully developed.
Hence, the provisions of a given text book linked to information and communications technology (ICT) formative and summative assessments provides an accessible platform for students to respond to the many challenges they have in achieving success at an ever increasing financial cost.
The authors have demonstrated that this process of blended learning has both engaged and enhanced the student learning experience which has resulted in a trend towards higher grades overall.
The process described enables academic staff to blend both formative self-assessments together with summative outcomes.
Finally the authors believe that this ICT approach builds upon a previous study that evaluated student learning based on an assessment.
The framework, as outlined, increases engagement and confidence by giving the responsibility for learning to the student.
They have developed a new model that engages alignment with assessment and relates to a modern learning environment so meeting students’ needs.
This formula could be used in the future as the basis for creating distance-learning modules for the sector as a whole to share.