VLE based analysis and design

Andrew Chetwynd


Students that are taught Structural Analysis and Design are confined to being shown a limited number of worked examples within an allocated lecture time. A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) would offer students the opportunity to explore
additional examples that cannot be considered during lecture time and also produce dynamic feedback and assistance. A broad review of learning and teaching styles was conducted. This was refined to engineers only with the two most predominant learning styles emerging as Assimilator and Converger. A critical review of VLEs was carried out, validating the necessity for a VLE focused upon Structural Analysis and Design. An initial set of focus groups held to identify the sub-topic that would benefit most from the implementation of a VLE revealed this to be ‘Rigid Frames’. A set of desirable features were also ascertained, with each of these implemented into a VLE prototype. A secondary set of focus groups were then carried out to critically analyse the developed features. The VLE prototype proved effective amongst all participants. Each feature of the prototype was critically analysed, with further implementation options given, but the consensus was that this system was highly sought after. The project has highlighted
the necessity for a VLE focusing upon Structural Analysis and Design, illustrating its unrestricted potential. The project has successfully determined the effectiveness of key features to optimise the learning for a civil engineering student.

Keywords: structural analysis and design, virtual learning environment, e-learning.

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