Assessment of virtual learning environments by higher education teachers and students Conference Paper uri icon


  • This research focuses on the problematic of the use of virtual learning environments in a higher education institution in the north of Portugal. In this study, we set the scientific and pedagogical background of virtual learning environments, and we analyze the responses obtained from an online questionnaire conducted to 536 subjects, all teachers and students at that same higher education institution, namely 347 students and 189 teachers. The research questions of this study were set out in order to assess the frequency with which the higher education students and teachers of that institution access virtual learning environments, the value they assign to those environments as well as to their integrated tools, and also to assess the influence of users’ computer skills on their access to virtual learning environments. Considering the computer skills classification of each subject of this study, three independent categories were created, both for teachers and students, associated with basic skills, intermediate skills and advanced skills, respectively. In this paper we adopt a descriptive and inferential data analysis, using the recommended statistical procedures. Results show that the majority of teachers and students access the institution’s virtual environment on a daily basis. However, there are significant differences between teachers who have intermediate computer skills and those who have basic skills, as the percentage of teachers with intermediate skills accessing the virtual learning environment everyday is higher than that of the teachers who have basic computer skills. No significant differences were found among students as far as the relation between virtual learning environment access and computer skills is concerned. With regard to the assessment of the virtual learning environment, more than 80% of the teachers consider that the use of the institution’s virtual learning environment is valuable to send messages or notices to students, provide the teacher’s office attendance hours, provide a schedule of activities, provide students’ assessment, provide the plan of students’ activities, and allow students to access resources and submit assignments online. The aspects valued by more than 80% of the students were: checking exam results and receiving messages or notices from teachers. The importance of this study is mainly related to knowledge sharing with the scientific community concerned with the implementation of virtual learning environments, based on the assessment of a specific situation which involved higher education students and teachers. Although the results cannot be generalized within the scope of other institutions as the sample belongs to one institution only, the study provides indicators which may represent an asset for future studies concerning the assessment and use of virtual learning environments and the digital tools they provide in the higher education context, as well as for the understanding of the relation between the use of these environments and their users’ computer skills.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013