Research Pick of the Day #3

February 10th, 2010 by Maria Moriarty

Today’s pick is….

Virtual learning environments: An evaluation of their development (2009)

A study of Virtual Learning Environments in the U.K.    We know them better in Canada as Learning Management Systems such as Moodle. The study looked at VLEs  in 18 colleges, six primary and 2 secondary schools, 3 workplace programs and 3 adult and community learning programs.

The study found that the most effective VLE’s allowed students to practice or reinforce their regular work and to catch up on missed lessons –  the success of the VLE’s  seemed to be based on the enthusiasm of the instructors who are using them, the development of engaging materials and good planning – although the study found that the use of VLEs in somewhat underdeveloped in the UK they point to the fact that particularly in work based programming they will become more and more integrated into the learning lives of students and institutions and as such continued support and resourcing is needed.

This study is particularly relevant to our field in Ontario where Virtual Learning Environments  or Learning Management Systems such as Moodle are beginning to be used more and more – the time is fast approaching when our adult literacy field will need to seriously begin to conduct similar research  identify accurate levels of use and to evaluate   the overall effectiveness of this type of learning in meeting the needs of  adult literacy students.