Evaluation of the user study
This paper will look at the user requirements for virtual learning. The user requirements will also need that the paper looks at the design requirements in order to come up with an effective user interface that will be easier to use. This section focuses on the effectiveness of virtual learning environment and how the new system will benefit the student. Virtual learning manifests itself in many forms. One major form is the synchronous technology, which is more of the traditional learning method. It requires that all learners to be present at the time of delivery in as much as the lecturer may not see them physically. Their presence in the lesson may be quantified by their participation during the class and by registers that are taken by the concerned tutors. In such a setting, timetables are made and delivered to all participants who need to be present. Learning can then either be carried out on a video conference or through other instructional televisions. Its major resemblance to the traditional classroom course is that all students in their remote areas must follow the set schedule. On the other hand, is the asynchronous technology that sets at liberty all participants to allow them have access to their lessons at their own convenient schedules. Unlike synchronous models, the asynchronous model uses the old communication media such as mails and video and audio recordings. No live meeting can be held with such a model. Also, there are no schedules set to enable students to carry out their studies. It is, however, acceptable that a couple of methods can be used in delivering a single lesson.
The new system of virtual learning is effective in a number of ways. First, this method is said to be highly flexible. This is mainly associated with time and geographical location. It is evident that e-learning gives learners lots of convenient advantages, allowing them to for instance earn as they study. This is true since one can choose to be working during the day and then be learning at night hours. This is an advantage especially to people that may be straining in life financially, and that may not enjoy luxury living styles associated with students.
Virtual learning saves so much on time and energy on the side of learners and also as concerns the tutors. Both options save on expenses that could otherwise be incurred were they to commute daily to their places of learning to do the same things that could have been done online effectively. This, therefore, eliminates the time and geographical barriers to education. In addition to this, virtual learning advocates for convenience especially as regards submission of assignments and exams. Access to the available materials and the tutors is also made less difficult for learners than in traditional systems.
Virtual learning also allows learners to study as accords their strength and understanding capabilities. This appreciates the fact that students in a classroom set up may not have the same abilities and taking them as equals is unfair to those that can be called slow learners. It also saves on money that could be spent on commuting, travelling allowances for tutors and the need to seek for accommodation.
The system will have various modules that will make it usable. The implementation of a new system in an organization is very complex such that many researchers have proposed various models of system implementation in order to provide guidelines for a successful implementation.
The theoretical framework is a collection of theories and models from the literature. It is a logically developed, described, and elaborated network of associations between the variables deemed relevant to the problem situation, and which have been identified through such processes as interviews, observations, and literature survey (as cited in collis and hussy, 2003). The theoretical framework to be used for the purpose of this research is developed based on the existing literature on implementation of new systems and the previous studies conducted on critical success factors on companies, industries and organizations.
The framework for this research is based on a model developed by zhang et al. (2005) and aris et al. (2009) comprising of: (1) organizational environments, including top management support, re-engineering business process, effective project management, change management strategy, and institution-wide commitment; (2) people factors, including education and training, employee’s attitude, project team and user involvement both at system requirements definition and systems implementation; (3) technical problems, including suitability of software and hardware, it maturity and data accuracy; (4) cultural impact including organizational cultures and computer culture. These models are chosen because they offer possibility to group complex issues of investigation together in a more manageable research overview for the researcher. Additionally, they seem the most complete models.
The proposed conceptual model for the research based on the above theoretical frameworks is shown below:
There are so many scenarios in which the applicability of this newly developed system could be implemented. Take for instance a case where a lecturer in the University needs to deliver some assignments to students and they have enquiries to make. In such a case a mobile application that allows students to reach the lecturer will be the most appropriate. Another case involves a meeting that is to be held and probably not all the parties concerned are readily available, this can be done over a video conference since the system will be available at all places for use by the concerned parties. Lastly there is a case where some information is needed for real time decision making. Such can be easily retrieved from the system databases or delivered by the concerned parties over the system coverage.
After having studied about the importance of such systems, this information prompted the designing of a system that can be used at any given learning institution to aid the learning and administrative processes. The system is easy to use because of its user friendly interface. It aims at bringing all the services offered by different departments all over the whole University together through an internet connection. The main beneficiaries of this system are the concerned staff and the students (Seneff, 2002).
The crucial objective of this system is to enhance the learning process and assist in improving the services hence facilitating customer satisfaction. Furthermore, it also aims at meeting the needs which should be achieved by the various departments for the complete satisfaction of their consumers. Many models exist that one can utilize in coming up with such a system, but after reconsidering many factors the waterfall model was put into consideration and later application. A waterfall model is a software design model in which the development stages, right from conception of the idea to implementation of the software flow increasingly like water in a stream does. The waterfall model involves the following steps; requirements specification, design, implementation, verification and maintenance (Watkins, 1998).
There are various scenarios that are included in the system. There are many users who will use the system. This will mean that the various modules will be used to have an interaction of the many users in the system.
Interface justification document
The user interface that is proposed meets the requirements of the system. QUT virtual learning needs a user interface that is professional and standard. The need to design a new user interface requires that users should have a good experience in using the user interface. There are various issues that need to be met when designing the user interface. Users should find the user interface easier to learn. It should be easy to learn the various processes of getting work done on the new virtual system. The user interface should not be complicated. This will drive users away from using the system. The process of entering data online should be easy to handle and undertake. This will increase the interest of users and will have the desire to interact with the system. If users find that the system is complicated, they will be alienated by it and will lose the interest to interact with the system (Khosrowpour et al., 1999).
The user interface proposed will help users enter more data online regarding the various courses available and regarding a module they are pursuing. This way, productivity in what they do will be increased. This will help to increase and enhance their experience with the process of entering data. Although automation and computer use simplifies work processes, if the user interface is not designed to improve the user and captivate them, then users will not be interested in the use (Simons, & Usher, 2000).
The screens will also have ways in which users can get help. The design has been designed in a way that help can be sought and acquired anytime a user gets stuck. This way students and all system users will not waste time in seeking for help and assistance from the experts. The time for correcting the errors will be reduced. The user experience will also be improved. There are so many scenarios in which the applicability of this newly developed system could be implemented. Take for instance a case where a lecturer in the University needs to deliver some assignments to students and they have enquiries to make. In such a case a mobile application that allows students to reach the lecturer will be the most appropriate. Another case involves a meeting that is to be held and probably not all the parties concerned are readily available, this can be done over a video conference since the system will be available at all places for use by the concerned parties. Lastly there is a case where some information is needed for real time decision making. Such can be easily retrieved from the system databases or delivered by the concerned parties over the system coverage.
After having studied about the importance of such systems, this information prompted the designing of a system that can be used at any given learning institution to aid the learning and administrative processes. The system is easy to use because of its user friendly interface. It aims at bringing all the services offered by different departments all over the whole University together through an internet connection. The main beneficiaries of this system are the concerned staff and the students
The overall design has an attractive appeal for users. There should be a good combination of colors. The colors should be chosen well so that they are not offensive to the eyes. This way, the aesthetic value of the user interface will be improved and enhanced.
Khosrowpour, M., and Information Resources Management Association, International Conference. (1999).
Managing Information Technology Resources in Organizations in the Next Millenium: 1999 Information
Resources Management Association International Conference, Pa, USA, May 16-19. Hershey: Idea Group Inc (IGI).
Simons, H & Usher, R (2000) Situated Ethics in Educational Research, 1st ed, Routledge Publishers
Watkins, W.M(1998). Technology and Business Strategy: getting the most out of technological assets. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.