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Usability Methodology and Testing for a Virtual Learning Environment

, , , Oxford university, United Kingdom

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 17, Number 3, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


This article describes a usability evaluation that was conducted among student users of improved learning areas (sites) designed as part of the WebLearn Improved Student Experience (WISE) project conducted at Oxford University (UK). WebLearn is the university’s internal brand for the Sakai open source virtual learning environment (VLE). The project benefited from central university funding to support 19 departments, faculties and other academic units to fast-track the development and improvement of their WebLearn presence in order to enhance the student learning experience. This was the first time in the Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) team that formal usability testing had been carried out on the VLE used by staff and students for both full distance and blended learning study programmes. The WISE team members devised a methodology to assess certain usability criteria that would be helpful in the context of the project. The methodology included various techniques generally used in usability testing such as first-click testing, scenarios, focus group discussion and memory tasks. The methods and tasks presented in this paper could be further refined and used as guidelines for usability testing on other systems or VLE-related projects.


Laurent, X., Fresen, J. & Burholt, S. (2018). Usability Methodology and Testing for a Virtual Learning Environment. International Journal on E-Learning, 17(3), 341-375. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved July 30, 2021 from .


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