Measuring performance of virtual learning environment system in higher education

William Ho, Helen E. Higson, Prasanta K. Dey, Xiaowei Xu, Rami Bahsoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to measure the performance of commercial virtual learning environment (VLE) systems, which helps the decision makers to select the appropriate system for their institutions.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper develops an integrated multiple criteria decision making approach, which combines the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and quality function deployment (QFD), to evaluate and select the best system. The evaluating criteria are derived from the requirements of those who use the system. A case study is provided to demonstrate how the integrated approach works.
Findings – The major advantage of the integrated approach is that the evaluating criteria are of interest to the stakeholders. This ensures that the selected system will achieve the requirements and satisfy the stakeholders most. Another advantage is that the approach can guarantee the benchmarking to be consistent and reliable. From the case study, it is proved that the performance of a VLE system being used at the university is the best. Therefore, the university should continue to run the system in order to support and facilitate both teaching and learning.
Originality/value – It is believed that there is no study that measures the performance of VLE systems, and thus decision makers may have difficulties in system evaluation and selection for their institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-29
Number of pages24
JournalQuality Assurance in Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Chosen as a ‘Highly Commended Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2010’
The work described in this paper was supported by a HELM small research grant, from Aston University. The authors would also like to acknowledge Mr David Anderson for providing information on alternative VLE systems.


  • higher education
  • e-learning
  • performance measures
  • analytical hierarchy process
  • quality function deployment


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