THE ADOPTION OF LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Factors Influencing the Adoption of Learning Management Systems: Findings on External Factors
4.5.3 External Factors
188.8.131.52.1 Institutional factors positive
Regarding utilization of the learning management system, the first interviewee reports that she has had a prior experience using such a system. The positive institutional issue the interviewee pointed out to have a direct impact on their utilization of the learning management system were institutional laws and regulations, the institution’s level of commitment as far as rewards and punishments due to failure or exemplary use of the system is concerned, encouragement by the institution’s leaders as well as the extent to which the IT department uses and encourages the utilization of the system. According to the first interviewee, her university has shown commitment towards adopting an educational management system. She states that “Sure, the university helped.”
The second interviewee reported that she did not use learning management system. She says that the university so wishes to be modern and developed and that the institution has introduced courses, for both the lectures and students, aimed at making them familiar with educational management systems such as smart boards. The third interviewee also reported that she is not familiar with the learning management system. She reports that the institution has a website and intends to develop the e-learning curriculum as well as the system.
The fourth interviewee reported that she knows the blackboard and is familiar with how it works. She reports that the university has the necessary internet infrastructure required for the successful running of a learning management system and that it provides different faculties with courses on the system. She states that “I have taken courses in the last semester that taught us as doctors how to use the blackboard and get the best out of it.” The fifth interviewee reported that she was familiar with blackboards as well as the usual blogs. She points out that the administration is committed towards utilization of the learning management system, often encouraging the staff to utilize it. She also points out that the university offers courses on e-learning and that most of the staff has attended the courses. The sixth interviewee reports that she does not have any knowledge about the learning management system. However, she states that her institution has an IT department.
184.108.40.206 .2 Institutional issues negative
According to the first interviewee, the university does not adequate laws and regulations that would have made it possible for the educational management systems to the extensively adapted across the university. She points out that the IT departed is the only one that has actively implemented such a system and that other departments depend on the IT department in applying the systems. She reports that the institution does not make it mandatory for lecturers to use the learning management system. She states “as a lecturer, I put the material, activate the system with all what’s useful for the student and the curriculum, but nothing forces me as a lecturer in Princess Nora University to do so.”
The second interviewee points out that one of the key institutional factors that have led to her not using the system is her university being “out of development such as electronic process.” She states that unlike other universities abroad, hers is yet to implement any electronic processes, a factor that also puzzles foreign lecturers at the institution. The interviewee seems to contradict herself when she points out that “Smart board is used here in classrooms, but at university, there are electronic corrections of students’ homework, but we do not use the blackboard.” She is quick to point out that she has heard about the smartboard only once, and she does not know how it works as well as its significance.
The third interviewee points out that she wants to register for training courses in distance learning. However, her institution does not offer the same because it was established just four years ago. She states that “we use the traditional education, and we have not started the distance learning yet.” She points out that despite having a website, the available e-learning materials at her institution are only limited to a single online reading CD. She points out that generally, the institution has shown very little interest in implementing a learning management system and that many staff members are unfamiliar with the smart board. She states that the institution has an IT department, but its work is limited to fixing a few devices around the institution.
220.127.116.11.1 Technology-related factors positive
The first interviewee reports that her institution had a learning management system. She points out that “I can’t remember any errors in the system, I was actually surprised with the huge options that I had as a lecturer.” This is an indicator that the system has been working as intended since its implementation. She also points out the important role that the IT department has played in making more staff and students familiar with the learning management system. The fourth interviewee also highlights the positive technology related factor at her institution. She reports that the IT department is also very supportive and responsive. She states that “Any problem about the password, you should send an email to them, and they try to fix it because the electronic system here makes their response very fast. The same sentiments are echoed by the fifth interviewee who points out that the university’s IT department has been at the forefront in encouraging the utilization of the system across the different departments. She states that “I used it the last year, and I had no problem accessing the system, I have never found the system not working, and they tell us about the updates in advance.”
18.104.22.168.2 Technology-related issues negative
The negative technology related issues highlighted by the first interviewee include some flaws that make it impossible for students to download assignments as well failure by the system to capture important information for new users. She also highlights issues regarding access, pointing out that sometimes it is difficult to access certain pages due to slow speeds as well as a failure by the system to recognize usernames and passwords. The second interviewee reports that despite the learning management system being available at the institution, it has never been used. On the other hand, the third interviewee reports about the lack of proper internet infrastructure within her institution. She points out that this has contributed to inadequate utilization of the learning management system and lack of familiarity among students and staff. The sixth interviewee also pointed out a negative technology-related issue. She states that despite the university having an IT department, the role of the IT department is limited to technical support.
22.214.171.124.1 Training-related factors positive
With regard to positive training related issues, the first interviewee reports that the university offers training on e-learning to both students and staff. The second interviewee also states that the institution has introduced courses, for both the lectures and students, aimed at making them familiar with educational management systems such as smart boards. The fourth interviewee also reports that her institution has put in place the necessary e-learning program and that the courses are tailored made to meet the individual needs of different staff members. The same factor is highlighted by the fifth and the sixth interviewee.
126.96.36.199.2 Training-related issues negative
On the negative training-related issue, the first interviewee points out that lack of interest among trainers as well as the inaccessibility of some important learning materials is a significant issue that contributed to under-utilization of the learning management system at her university. The second interviewee points out that despite her university offering the training programs, she found them inadequate. She states that “It was like course but, actually, it was not. We just know how to switch on & switch off it.”
188.8.131.52.1 Academic-related factors positive
On the positive academic related issues, the first interviewee reports that students who register are automatically added to the subject records. The fourth interviewee reports that the positive academic related factor at her institution is the flexibility of the e-learning training. She points out that the courses are quite flexible and offered on a regular basis, making it possible for those who miss the lectures to attend them when they have time. She is also of the view that her institution is greatly committed to ensuring that learning management system is fully implemented at both the university and faculty levels.
184.108.40.206.2 Academic-related issues negative
The first interviewee states that one negative academic related issue is the continued utilization of the paper system as far as academics is concerned. This has made it difficult for the paperless system to be integrated into the current processes. The fourth interviewee points out that the fact that the use of the system is not mandatory is another negative academic-related issue. She points out that the institution has not made it a must for staff and students to use the blackboard, a factor that also contributes to less utilization of the system for academic purposes.
220.127.116.11.1 Environment-related factors positive
With environmental issues, the first interview points out the drive towards modernism in the current culture as well as increased participation of women in technology as some of the positive factors. She states that women are better positioned in the current cultural environment to utilize the learning management system and encourage its utilization among other staff members and learners. The fourth interviewee lauds the cooperative staff as one of the positive environmental factors as far as the utilization of the learning management system among female staff members is concerned. She states that “The staff is cooperative too, and we receive a great support, the university is really doing a huge effort to spread using the blackboard in all the faculties. She also points out that the institutional culture has seen most of the staff and students embrace modern technology. As such, adapting and using the learning management system has been smooth and successful.
4.5.3. 5.2 Environment-related issues negative
The negative environmental factors affecting the utilization of the learning management system according to the first interviewee include lack of access to personal computers by many students as well as customs and traditions that have made it difficult for modern technologies to be adopted by the local communities. The third interviewee highlights that lack of time among the staff members has also contributed to the lack of interest in e-learning. She states that the institution has only three professors of language and that “Everyone has certain circumstances like marriage, traveling with husband, pregnancy and childbirth.” She further states that social and cultural norms have contributed to the negative attitude towards the system among students and university staff. She points out that among the female staff members, many are afraid that using the learning management system will make their private information available to many other people. She also points out that the cultural and social environment favours males more than females, meaning that male staff members are better positioned to attend training sessions compared to female staff members.
18.104.22.168.1 Student-related factors positive
For positive student related issues, the first interviewee reports that many students are now applying for the programs aimed at making them more familiar with e-learning. The second and third interviewees also point out many students have started enrolling into the training programs aimed at making them more familiar with the learning management system
22.214.171.124.2 Student-related issues negative
On the negative side, she reports that many students are still not aware of how to go about with the basic operations in the learning management system. Additionally, they lack motivation, and have to be reminded from time to time about the uploaded assignments and documents. She also points out that the fact that the training offered is not mandatory has contributed to lack of interest among students. The same sentiments are raised by the second and third interviewee. The fourth interviewee reports that despite a training program being in place, students from some faculties find it hard to learn how to use the system. This in turn discourages the use of learning management systems among the staff members. Apart from that, the fourth interviewee states that most students do not have access to personal computers as well as fast internet, a fact that has made them develop a negative attitude towards the learning management system. The fifth interviewee states that the students’ attitude towards the system is wanting, since some of them have not been able to understand how the system works. These sentiments are also shared by the sixth interviewee, who reports about lack of personal computers among the students since most of them are from poor family backgrounds.