Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) for Electronic Engineering Students

C. McHugo and T. Hall (Ireland)


eLearning, PBL, VLEs, Blended learning.


This paper highlights the development of a virtual learning environment (VLE) to teach digital electronics. The aims of this research work are to demonstrate virtual experimentation using an interactive model elevator and simulation and also facilitate collaborative learning in a problem based learning (PBL) [1] environment. The digital electronics module will be delivered using blended learning techniques. We propose to test the VLE on Electronic Systems and Information Technology students in the second semester (February 2005) of the academic year here at the University of Limerick. During the past year we have carried out surveys in other modules to quantify student's thoughts and gauge their views on VLE's and blended learning. This information was compiled and used as an aid in the development of VLE In the first trial we studied student's behavior with a custom built VLE using blended learning techniques. Currently we are carrying out trails on students in another Module using Moodle [2] as a VLE. The requirements and specifications involved in creating a model elevator for the purpose of a VLE are assessed. Modular design was integrated into the design process. Therefore it is hoped that the different modular features of the elevator can provide challenging PBL exercises for learners.

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