Action Research Meets Outcomes Assessment: UA's VALA and the D2L LMS

Abstract

The use of learning management system (LMS) software affords new opportunities to infuse and support a scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education. The Virtual Adaptive Learning Architecture (VALA) project at the University of Arizona has partnered with Desire2Learn (D2L) to adapt a powerful, standards-compliant LMS to create an environment in which faculty can use actual learning-outcomes data to conduct formative evaluation/action research on the consequences of the choices they make as they structure learning environments for their students. VALA ultimately aims to support learner-centered practices by creating and supporting inquiry-driven teaching with an expert system linked to D2L LMS course environments, study design tools, and an online resource library, making it possible to bring good research practices to evaluate the impact of instructional design choices on learners.

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