The VLE Usage Survey Five Years in:overview of
findings & future directions
“[VLE] gives you direction”
In a nutshell
Multi-institutional group working since 2008
o integrated in ILTA research strategy
Anonymous and collegiate sharing
o data collected since 2008
o 12 institutions
institutions anonymised, no use of results for PR
common detailed questionnaire
o over 20,500 student responses
... yet, consistent
with comparisons to
2011 results for same
I think systems the VLE are helpful
'I’d be lost without [the VLE]. It’s
really helpful'/'I could not survive
academically without [the VLE]'
What do you use the VLE for?
'It provides you with a good
picture of how the semester
will look regarding
assignments thus allowing
If you do not use the VLE, why not?
What would you like to see improved in the VLE?
“Some lecturers put material up in a
fairly disorganised manner which can be
frustrating when trying to access material quickly”
Digital literacy, usability, support
'I like the freedom of having access to info day or night'
“I can learn at home, even in bed”
Where do you access [VLE] from?
“I have access to [VLE]
from my phone.
All notes are portable
and when I have a free
moment I can go
online and study”
'My course is very time consuming and
it's difficult to manage study around
this. [The VLE] allows me that time to
concentrate my study in a precise way.
It suits me just the way it is...'
How does the VLE influence learning?
“… write down all useful info
discussed in class beside notes,
prevents me getting confused
when looking back on scribbles
in my A4 pad and allows
me to remember the
class & discussions”
'Makes me revise more and allows me to
prepare for labs more efficiently as my
lecturer posts videos online in [the VLE]'
How does the VLE influence communication?
Getting notes on [VLE] makes me less likely
to go to lectures
'If I can't attend college because of being sick, or
family commitments, I don't feel completely lost as I
can keep track of everything in [the VLE]'
Receives grades for taking
quizzes/tests within VLE
Receives grades for participating
in discussion forums
“I feel that the use
of online quizzes
and video links on
in lectures helps
with my learning
of subjects and
feel that all
lecturers should be
making more use
of this feature”
• Triangulate Student survey information
• Provide useful data for planning internal
• Early versions piloted.
Emerging Issues III
Launch 20th June,
Themes from EDIN Chapter
• VLE as a content distribution platform
• Consistency of use
• Enhancing and sustaining student
• Meeting flexibility requirements
• Good educational design is essential
[The VLE] has
important to my
the years, when on
Erasmus the lack of
a useful and easily
like [VLE] was very
Complement with a staff survey
Consider system derived metrics and learning
analytics type data
Presenters: intro Damien, Rob data, Angelica book/results, and discussions Names for abstract / Fiona O'Riordan? - not on EdTech abstract? DR - take one of short student quotes with striking image (bed? / compass? VLE gives direction) and use as background here
We are involved in this project to investigate students' use and perceptions of VLEs, and because our collaboration is useful in evolving our understanding of how best to manage the VLE and support students and academics. Comment: VLEs are considered core infrastructure in HE institutions
While there is over 20,000 responses in the survey overall to date, and another We're going to focus on a set of 8502 responses. There come from four institutions which ran the survey in both 2011 and 2013, giving us a comparable dataset two years apart. That subset filters out potential errors arising from institutions coming and going in the dataset, so we're more confident that what we see is a real time change not a sampling artifact.
2013 Update Comment: continued positive PREV: [Damien - Rob, some postiive student quotes if you want: I think blackboard is a fantastic resource It informs you of what you need to cover in the modules and keeps you on the right track, without it one would be lost. Access to lecturers, classmates and learning materials are the most useful]
Chart updated to 2013 - fix colours to aling styles. Note little change in quizzes - still very much a content management dominated usage model So, this year, for the first time, we're starting to get data from enough institutions on a long enough time base to talk about changes over time as well as gross patterns we discussed last time. Getting copies of lecture notes and other materials is the big usage modality. So is this VLE thing just a souped up content management system? Is that bad? Use of a VLE as a simple transmission systems solves a big problem - paper management. If it's transmitting information that can then be discussed in class instead of simply read out, that can still be pedagogically positive. Basic usage can still be a very good thing, let's not knock a system that solves a simple problem well, just because groovy constructivist things like online discussion remain relatively low (and probably much lower in reality, as this is a sample, not a census!) Usage of everything is up, but submit assigments seems to be a notable one upshifting. We think this is driven by integration of systems like turnitin to VLE's, so making it a more fluid process to submit material online.
Some respondents didn't use the VLE, and here's why - lecturers don't use it! Note the numbers here a relatively small, so everything except lecturer non use is trivial. The decrease in that over time is small, but encouraging. Qualitative data supports this - when asked what prevents them from getting the most out of their VLE 42% said it was lecturer non use or poor use that prevented them using VLEs effectively (compared with 49% in 2008) Student quotes:
Chart updated with 2013 data Talk about barriers to access - lecturer non use
q9 -very stable year on year. Other Barriers have reduced over time. This shows the 'agree' and 'strongly agree' % for the statements shown. You can see conventional digital literacy issues around computer use are basically gone (note - among respondants - again with the self selecting sample - but it was self selecting in both years) bandwidth and access is muchimproved,usability, reliability - but no big change in the help and support area, where it's only a strong half.... Qualitatively students are saying a major barrier was access e.g. systems down; password problems; broadband issues (36% of qualitative responses related to access issues; compared to 38% in 2008) Navigation was also cited by many as a barrier (up this time at 18%; compared with 10% in 2008) - navigation refers to students difficulty in finding and accessing resources Student quote 'In the second semester i took me ages to find my modules as the first semester ones are still on the home page with a two of my new modules but the rest are under 'my sites' which can get confusing' Ease of use is often around lecturer usage rather than system
The help and support issue is interesting, as increasingly people are accessing the system across a broad range of hours, with big growth in access outside of conventional office hours - a shift towards the 24 hour university. Again, system logs would be great for this kind of data - superior to survey.
2013 Updated Comment: Substantial use from home (note similar levels in both 2011 and 2013 of agreement (92%) and disagreement (3%) with statement: "I have adequate access (ie computers, bandwidth) to the web outside college"); Substantial increase in mobile phone and tablets use; Increase in laptops on campus; Increase in wireless access outside campus (reflects technology) Lots of potential discussion here apps vs. mobile web access The other 'pattern of access' shift in in devices. Access devices and locations have changed. Everything is up, but mobile devices is the big shift since 08. We expect to have to grow further in '13 and on, and will drop some items like internet cafe's. This is an area where we could really use system derived data on accessing devices - but noting that system won't see offline access, like people mailing docs to a kindle to read them offline.
With Slide 11, Where do you access [VLE] from?
Updated 2013 Comment:
2013 Updated Comment: add/clarify/easier to learn - strong percentages PREVIOUS Students seem to feel the VLE is a genuine learning aid. This shows the agree+strongly agree % for some questions on that - now the year comparison isn't so important here, you can ignore that as the shifts are quite small. But look, three quarters of students say it helps to clarify what is covered in class. Close to 70% say it helps them to learn. Almost half feel it helps them understand how well they are doing. This is good news - it tells us that students, or at least the ones who care to tell us, like this thing and feel it is of benefit. That said, 40% agreed that it mainly repeats what is in class, but that isn't so awful either.
"Allows me to access notes before class and write down all useful info discussed in class beside notes, prevents me getting confused when looking back on scribbles in my A4 pad and allows me to remember the class & discussions"
2013 updated Comment: PREV - looks like ERROR in last year's chart with access to classmates wrong before: q10a, 10b, 10f Changes over time not so singificant here, but a substantial group finds the VLE makes it easier to contact their classmates, even in the facebook age. Small groups find it helps them contact their lecturers. We can be happy with that - if these people might otherwise be lurkers or it empowers them to engage with the lecturer, super. A high positive response isn't always the right answer.
2013 updated POTENTIALLY INTERESTING [In SPSS I ran chi-square analysis - difference is significant. Also reran for each of 4 colleges separately: 2 colleges change is similar to overall picture, 1 change is reversed with more disagreement in 2012, 1 insignificant difference] Something else that may be interesting is that some text responses show students complaining about not having notes before classes. It may be the case that we could flip this question on its head i.e. notes on VLE may make studnets more likely to go to lectures: " Not being able to print my lectures notes so I may bring them to class discourages me from attending as it is difficult to keep up with the lecture otherwise. "
2013 updated - New question in 2013 Receives grades (that count towards your final mark) for taking quizzes/tests within VLE Receive grades (that count towards your final mark) for participating in discussion forums Comment: ? increased need for procedure for archiving assessed student work within VLE Interpretation issues - as elsewhere yes means for at least one subject/module (not all); note all missing treated as No
With Slide 13 - good/more use of VLE by lecturers " It is great to be able to submit assignments, access courseware, discuss topics and give direct access to the library remotely and Refworks and booking rooms and extending loans - so a fabulous tool!"
Much scope for development
Discussion: Is the VLE here to stay?
Review and keep running the student survey - review every year. Small tweaks needed, but keep to a minimum to ensure continuity. As we move on, we find things that seemed like good questions in 2008 aren't anymore, and assumptions implicit in the questions, which we didn't notice at the time, become obvious and need to be unpacked (for example, the full time, module ased course assumption) We designed a staff survey in 08/09 but never got in going. Time to revisit this over the summer and add the staff perspective Survey data is very limited - poor responses rates, self selecting samples and so on. One way to address that is to supplement it with system derived data. We would need to derive common metrics which can be drawn from different VLE's in a consistent and comparable way. That could be a big job.
Finally, our project is open, and we always welcome new participants. Join us, we don't bite. Please feel free to approach any of us about coming into the workgroup. We are very informal, don't bite etc.