ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN CONSTRUCTIVIST LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS SUPPORTED BY LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Institutions of Higher Education in Portugal face today unique challenges. Aware of the change, in general, these institutions have been presented reform initiatives, covering in their strategic plans new frames of operation, where e-learning and / or b-learning is recognized.
The present study aims mainly to know the impact that b-learning and the implemention of some pedagogical models adapted to these environments, may have on academic performance of students in higher education. To this end, we analyzed the academic performance of students in a curricular unit of a course of Physical Education and Sport, for four academic years from 2007/2008, during which the unit was initially taught only presential, by 2010 / 2011, a period that was taught in a combined modality (75% online and 25% presential). Data analysis, referring to the classifications obtained, suggests that the creation of virtual environments, combined with complementary or presential learning, and using pedagogical models adapted to online environments (eg, Comumunity of Inquiry Garrison et al, 2000; E-Moderating, Salmon, 2000), diversified learning objects (scripto, audiovisual and multimedia) and strategies that encourage students, may indeed contribute to a significant improvement in their academic achievement. We also concluded that this b-learning modality, supported by online pedagogical constructivist and collaborative models allow effectively equate the teaching-learning process in a different way. However, the change should not be seen only from a technological standpoint, since the use of an Learning Management System is no guarantee of success, but must above all be seen in terms of changing attitudes and practices. This (new) reality implies a very large cultural change, as to rethink the roles of teacher and student, and the relationship between them, appropriate content, in addition to the implications that must be implemented in terms of structuring and planning of courses and curricula, evaluation systems and teaching and learning forms.