In 2016, users of a VLE at Aberystwyth University were interviewed and their interview transcripts were analysed using GT. This approach was adopted in order to capture the experiences of students, teaching staff, directors of studies and the e-learning team. Grounded theory provided the basis of a well-defined method for eliciting meaningful information from interview data (Lawrence and Tar, 2013). This resulted in recommendations for configuring a VLE to meet the needs articulated by different users and stakeholders. As demonstrated by Adolph, Hall and Kruchten (2011) and Stol, Ralph and Fitzgerald (2016), grounded theory is useful for addressing software engineering problems as it has the capacity to solve social-related problems that are context-based and interpretive in nature such as that of a VLE. This approach reveals what each user really needs in their specific settings as opposed to configuring the VLE according to the assumed perceptions of the developers.
During the course of this presentation, the study outlined above will be discussed by sharing how the application of a social science methodology helped in identifying the various requirements of VLE users. An analysis of the responses of the interviews conducted showed how the users perceived their use of the VLE. Frequently occurring themes included drawbacks of VLEs, and how lecturers structure modules around the VLE. Controversial themes, where participants contradicted each other, included Institute-based VLEs and satisfaction of VLEs.
This presentation will provide an opportunity to explore how best the conflicting requirements of users of a complex system like a VLE can be resolved. This is likely to be of interest to participants who are keen to shape the future of learning technology so as to provide VLEs that all users will be happy to use. A reflection of the process during the conference will spur VLE developers to evaluate their current approaches of VLE designs with a view to providing an enriched users’ experience.
Adolph, S., Hall, W., & Kruchten, P. (2011). Using grounded theory to study the experience of software development, Empirical Software Engineering. 16(4). pp 487–513.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. 1967. The discovery of grounded theory. Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.
Lawrence, J., & Tar, U. (2013). The use of grounded theory technique as a practical tool for qualitative data collection and analysis. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 11(1). pp 29-40.
Stol, K., Ralph, P., & Fitzgerald, B. (2016). Grounded theory in software engineering research: a critical review and guidelines. Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering. ACM, pp 120-131.
emmaisibor posted an update in the session Analysis of Users’ Requirements of a VLE: A Reflection of the Application of Grounded Theory  1 year, 8 months ago
Thanks everyone for following. Looking forward to seeing you all during the presentation at the conference.