Background Research


To attempt this project it is necessary to understand the potential impacts on students and teachers from the points of view of how they learn and teach. To gain an understanding of these topics, research was carried out into learning styles and teaching techniques, as well as research into open source software, Virtual Learning Environments and the current efforts to introduce these technologies into secondary school education. Also due to the size, timescale and nature of the project it was necessary to research and decide upon a project methodology to define a structure for how the project should be undertaken.

Project Methodologies

To provide a structure for carrying out the project, software project methodologies were reviewed. These were the Waterfall Model, the Iterative Waterfall Model, The Spiral Model and Rapid Application Development (RAD). From this review an appropriate methodology was chosen for this project.




The Waterfall Model

The original Waterfall Model, first proposed in 1956, is based around the principal of a series of activities which are carried out during the projects lifecycle in order from top to bottom. Each activity must be finished before the next activity can be started and once an activity is finished it cannot be revisited. These activities usually equate to Analysis, Design, Implementation, Testing and Evaluation. The primary flaw with this model is its lack of flexibility. The lack of possible iteration means that changes in user requirements outside of the Analysis phase are not taken into account.

A more recent adaptation of the original Waterfall Model known as the Iterative Waterfall Model follows the same basic rules of its predecessor, with the addition of the possibility for revisiting activities previously thought to be finished if the need arises. This helps overcome problems that may become apparent during later activities but must be used sparingly.



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