Hygiene factors: Using VLE minimum standards to avoid student dissatisfaction

Peter Reed, Simon Watmough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Inconsistency in the use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) has led to dissatisfaction amongst students and is an issue across the Higher Education sector. This paper outlines research undertaken in one faculty within one university to ascertain staff and student views on minimum standards within the VLE; how the VLE could reduce student dissatisfaction; and to propose a conceptual framework surrounding student satisfaction with the VLE. A questionnaire was sent to staff and students asking if they agreed with the need to introduce minimum standards in the VLE and what criteria they wanted. The National Student Survey (NSS) results were analysed for six schools within the faculty over a 4-year period. Many of the NSS results were relevant to developing minimum standards with the VLE. The questionnaire results showed the vast majority of staff and students favour the introduction of minimum standards and identified specific items that should be included, for example handbooks, contact information for staff, access to previous modules, assessment information, further reading, etc. The NSS data showed that students wanted lectures available in the VLE, improved feedback, more computers for students and information about cancelled sessions/timetable changes in the VLE. The results suggest the presence of many minimum standards may reduce student dissatisfaction with the VLE. However, a distinction is made between those prepotent factors that cause dissatisfaction and those that lead to satisfaction, using Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory as a theoretical basis. When considering minimum standards as ‘hygiene factors’, their presence can prevent student dissatisfaction and provide the foundations for innovation in technology-enhanced learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-89
JournalE-Learning and Digital Media
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2015


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