Discovering teacher and student needs in online courses for improving the Learning Management System (LMS) of universities

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master's Programme in Collaborative and Industrial Design
The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused a shift from traditional classroom learning to online learning in higher education institutions. This rapid environmental change confused teachers and students, due to their inadequate readiness and past experience with online learning. As synchronous learning had been the primary approach for universities, teachers encountered difficulties increasing asynchronous learning experiences for students, which occur in a Learning Management System (LMS). Therefore, it was apparent that LMSs should be further developed to help teachers ensure a high quality of education asynchronously. This thesis investigates challenges that teachers and students faced in online courses, particularly during the pandemic. Thus, an improved workflow with user-interfaces is proposed that could support teachers to enhance work efficiency and asynchronous interactions with students. Ultimately, teacher and student needs are discovered to help with the development of the LMS that could incorporate digital technologies into teaching practices in an asynchronous learning environment. The research adopts service design and user-centred approaches to collect and analyse qualitative data. The qualitative research methods include interviews and observations, and data analysis is conducted by affinity diagram. Moreover, the concept proposal is validated through a focus group with teachers. Hence, three gaps between teachers and students are identified, reflecting thirteen challenges of online learning. Thus, a workflow is designed based on a teaching process which follows the journey of online courses, and four features that need to be improved are suggested including efficiency, flexibility, compatibility, and learnability. The research is expected to impact on future studies about the development of an LMS that could provide students with high quality of asynchronous learning experiences in universities.
Uusitalo, Severi
Thesis advisor
Ylirisku, Salu
service design, learning management system, online learning, online courses, online pedagogy, asynchronous learning environment, asynchronous interaction, higher education institution
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