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The Importance of Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education

The Importance of Virtual Learning Environments in Higher Education
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Author(s): Paulo Alves (Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal), Luisa Miranda (Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal) and Carlos Morais (Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal)
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 22
Source title: Handbook of Research on Applied E-Learning in Engineering and Architecture Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): David Fonseca (La Salle Campus Barcelona, Universitat Ramon Llull, Spain) and Ernest Redondo (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, BarcelonaTech, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8803-2.ch018


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This chapter focuses on the concept of virtual learning environment (VLE), its characteristics and potentialities. We present the results of a research work conducted with a sample of 347 undergraduates from a Portuguese public higher education institution. The research addressed the issue regarding the use of virtual learning environments within the higher education context and had the following aims: identify the VLE access frequency; assess the influence of users' computer skills on the VLE access frequency; and assess the importance and impact that students consider the VLE to have on supporting the course units they attend. In the light of the results obtained and considering the VLE used in the sample institution, we highlight that the majority of students accesses the VLE on a daily basis, no significant differences were found regarding VLE access according to users' computer skills, and the most valued aspects of the VLE were: checking exam results and receiving teachers' messages or notices.

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