Virtual Learning Environments as Mediating Factors in Student Satisfaction with Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

Simon Cassidy


Virtual learning environments (VLE) have become a standard feature of most courses in higher education, offeringthe potential to facilitate and improve teaching and learning. Whilst there is an implicit assumption that VLEs benefitstudent learning, much of the evidence originates from direct questioning of students about their satisfaction with theVLE itself. In order to establish the impact of VLEs on student satisfaction with teaching and learning in highereducation, the present study gathered data from a sample of 128 undergraduate students using self-report moduleevaluation questionnaires (MEQs) completed before and after VLEs were introduced. MEQs were completed inrelation one core (Research Methods) and one elected (Health Psychology) module. Results for the core moduleshowed a marked increase in the percentage of students responding as extremely or very satisfied following theintroduction of the VLE compared to the pre VLE period. There was also a fall in the percentage of studentsresponding as neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. No clear or consistent change in student satisfaction was evident forthe elected module. Improved communication and greater variety of teaching methods were reported by students postVLE for both the core and the elected module. Findings provide some support for the notion that VLEs mediateincreased student satisfaction with teaching and learning in higher education, but that their impact may varyaccording to the course and the perceived utility of the VLE, pre-existing student satisfaction and the effectivenesswith which VLEs are blended with traditional approaches to meet student expectations.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Simon Cassidy

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)  Email:

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