Distance students’ perspectives about a formal learning management system at a Swedish university 

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för informatik (IK)

Abstract: This thesis has conducted interpretive qualitative research to investigate the impacts and limitations of LMS Moodle in distance students’ learning process from distance students’ perspectives. The qualitative data was collected from mediated semi-structured interviews with distance students participating in a Master program at Linnaeus University. Through empirical findings and analysis, the positive experiences and limitations of using Moodle in facilitating distance learning process have been revealed from distance students’ perspectives. The positive experiences include that LMS Moodle was used by distance students for interacting with other students, teachers and accessing study contents during their distance learning process. Moodle was used to know new classmates, teachers and the new learning system, recruit group members for the collaborative works, communicate with teachers and other classmates, and obtain significant information about courses. Especially, accessing study contents in Moodle easily was critical for distance students' learning. However, there were still some limitations. Distance students preferred Facebook to Moodle for student-student interaction during the process of collaborative works. The interaction with teachers was not adequate and timely for distance students. The limitations also include unsatisfactory Moodle interface design and poor usability of Moodle.   Some suggestions about improving LMS Moodle in different ways had also been acquired from the research. The suggestions from distance students mainly focus on integrating Moodle with other web conferencing platforms for improving the quality of student-student, student-teacher interaction in Moodle, ameliorating the interface design of Moodle, and adding Moodle tutorials. The result will help the development of LMS based on distance students' needs and finally benefit distance students' learning process.  

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