Using Data to See what Students are Doing: A Critically Enquiring Approach to VLE Development

Helen Coker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on a case study, this paper demonstrates how a critically enquiring approach to the development of online spaces has the potential to increase student participation and develop depth of learning. Data from the online space, student feedback and staff reflections were drawn on to enquire into the nature of learning within the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) of a blended course. Critical reflection led to changes which increased participation and opened up new spaces for discussion, thus enabling greater depth of learning.

In this case study, students’ patterns of participation were found to relate to their ability: higher-achieving students used the space in a more dialogic way. Digital structures acted as mediating artefacts; changes initiated led to increased participation. Social and cultural discourses were found to permeate the online space. Critical reflection and enquiry were effectively used to develop the space leading to improvements in relation to student participation and depth of learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2015


  • critical enquiry
  • online
  • Blended Learning
  • vle development


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