MAGUIRE et al, 2006. Design of a virtual learning environment: for students with special needs. Human Technology, 2(1), pp. 119-153.
The European Social Fund-supported Portland Partnership project developed a
computer-based virtual learning environment (VLE) to benefit students with cognitive and
physical disabilities. This system provided students with access to a suite of software
programs to teach them basic/essential skills needed for everyday life and to use information
and communications technology (ICT). The VLE can be customized to meet individual
students’ needs by selecting an input device, adjusting its setting, or choosing a symbol set to
support on-screen text. The learning programs within the VLE required careful design to
make them stimulating and beneficial to students who have diverse health conditions and
disabilities. The VLE and learning programs were evaluated within four partner Colleges of
Further Education. Observations showed that students enjoyed the learning tools and the
tutor comments indicated that students also benefited from them. A series of guidelines were
identified for the design of future VLEs and learning software for students with special needs.
This article was published in the journal, Human Technology. It is also available at: http://www.humantechnology.jyu.fi/.