Perceptions of Current Learning Management Systems

Research Paper

Scientific Study 2011 27 Pages

Business economics - Didactics, Economic Pedagogy


Table of contents

1 Introduction

2 Methodology

3 Results
3.1 Demographics of the respondents
3.2 Perceptions of current LMS
3.3 Possible benefits of iZoca

4 Interpretation and conclusion

Appendix A – Survey Design

Appendix B – Answers to Question 2

Appendix C – Answers to Question 4

1 Introduction

iZoca.com is currently a hyper-local social networking site. It combines elements of social networks and organizational tools. In contrast to other social networks like the market dominating Facebook, iZoca is not based on relations between individuals but on group affiliations. By giving their zip code members become part of their local community and can access the latest local news and information about events in their local area. They can form and join groups, in which activities can be planned, managed and promoted to the public. One of the most important features of iZoca is the integrated personal calendar. It includes the scheduled events in the member’s community and groups, is automatically updated and makes it therefore very easy to keep track of all things going on in the local area.

The company was founded in 2007 by the CEO and president Jeffrey Goronkin. The following years were primarily used for acquisition of capital and software development. With the launch of the community and group pages in 2010 and 2011, the architecture of iZoca.com is now complete and online. However, the company is struggling with difficulties. Membership is growing very slowly. Only about 4000 people are currently signed up at iZoca.com. Only about 20% of the groups are considered to be “active”, which means used continuously. Revenues generated by ads on the website are scarce.

For these reasons, we propose a strategy shift. iZoca should enter the market of Learning Mangement Systems (LMS) by partnering with an existing LMS. With its key features, the group and community structure and the shared calendar, it has the potential to satisfy needs of students and colleges that are currently either not or only insufficiently addressed by existing players in the market such as Blackboard or Moodle’s Joule.

The entire college could be mirrored virtually in a community on iZoca. Classes could be organized in groups, over which students and teachers can interact and communicate about all issues related to the class. Teachers could upload the syllabus or assignments, students could hand in assignments by uploading. Through the integrated calendar, group members would always have an up-to-date overview of the class schedule or due dates for assignments. Other things like campus events could also be organized in groups directly on the LMS platform. Through a smartphone application, students could also access the latest information about classes and campus events directly over their smartphones.

These examples show that iZoca could clearly offer benefits to college students. However, before any actions are undertaken into this direction, it is important to put any assumptions about customer needs on a fact-based fundament. To accomplish this, a survey has been conducted with college students about their perceptions of their college’s current LMS and about their appraisal of the features iZoca could offer. The results of this survey are presented in this research paper.

2 Methodology

For the survey, students of various colleges were approached, including Union College, Union Graduate College, Siena College, University of Rochester and Hudson Valley Community College. In total, 74 responses were gathered. The survey was designed and distributed to students of the named colleges with printed hard copies and online over the platform surveymonkey.com. The survey is shown in Appendix A. It is divided into three parts.

The first part (Questions 1 to 5) asks for the perception of the school’s current LMS. Question 1 asks for the LMS the respondent’s college currently uses, Question 2 for the first thing that comes to the respondent’s mind when thinking about his college’s LMS. With Question 3 the overall level of satisfaction with the current LMS is examined. Question 4 asks specifically for disadvantages of the currently used LMS as perceived by the students. In Question 5 the respondents rate how important seven different key functions of LMS are for them on a scale from “extremely important” to “not at all important”.

The second part (Questions 6 and 7) is about possible benefits of iZoca. Question 6 asks whether the respondents possess a smartphone. In Question 7, the students rate the helpfulness of certain features iZoca could offer on a scale from “extremely helpful” to “not at all helpful”.

The third part (Questions 8 to 10) finally assesses three segmentation variables, study situation, age and gender.

3 Results

3.1 Demographics of the respondents

Question 10:

Of the 74 respondents of the survey, 46 are female and 27 male. One person did not answer this question. This results in the following gender composition:

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Question 9:

Question 9 of the survey asks for the age group a respondent is in. The following table shows the answers to this question.

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The following graph shows the resulting age composition:

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As expected the population anwering to this survey, college students, is a young one. Almost half of it is under 21, 88% of the respondents are 25 or younger, 95% younger than 30.

Question 8:

Question 8 further specifies the study situation of the respondents. They are classified into categories depending on how far they are in their studies:

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As it can be seen, the population is almost evenly split between undergraduate and graduate students. No PhD students were asked. One professor is among the respondents. The different stages of the undergraduate level pretty evenly represented in the survey as well. Students in the first two years of undergraduate studies – freshmen and sophomores – account for 26% of the total population, students of the last two years – juniors and seniors – for 29%.

3.2 Perceptions of current LMS

Question 1:

In the first question the respondents specified which LMS their college is currently using. Blackboard is with 49 answers the most frequently named system. 23 people marked Moodle’s Joule. Other stated platforms are Desire2Learn and Ilias. Both were named once. The following chart shows the resulting composition of used LMS:

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Question 2:

This question ask about the first thing that comes to the respondent’s mind when thinking about the used LMS. The purpose of this question is to determine the primary associations and attitudes with a certain LMS. The exact answers to this question are listed in Appendix B. They are classified into three categories – positive answers, negative answers and neutral answers.

The following two graphs show the distribution of these categories, divided by answers for Joule and answers for Blackboard.

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Both LMS have almost the same share of neutral answers. Neutral associations are those that relate to the functions of the LMS without a valuation of these. Examples are “schoolwork”, “assignments”, “course material”, “checking grades” or “printing notes”.

Almost half of the associations with Joule are negative, 46%, as opposed to only 26% with Blackboard. Some of the negative answers for Joule are “annoying”, “disorganized”, “not user friendly”, “complicated” and “difficult to navigate”. Examples for Blackboard are “don’t use it”, “confusing”, “complicated” and “difficult to find files”.

Blackboard draws more than twice as many positive first reactions than Joule. Respondents answered for Blackboard for example “convenient”, “good”, “useful”, “helpful” and “easy to access course information”. For Joule, positive reactions are “convenient”, “accessibility” and “satisfactory”.

Question 3:

The respondents’ overall level of satisfaction with the LMS currently used by their college is assessed by the third question. The following table shows the frequencies of the marked answers:



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Marketing Survey Market Analysis




Title: Perceptions of Current Learning Management Systems