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Understanding e-learning implementation barriers: an analysis of individual, technological, and pedagogical factors

Basir, M. (2023) Understanding e-learning implementation barriers: an analysis of individual, technological, and pedagogical factors. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00112299


Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and it has reshaped how we go about in our everyday life. Continuous advancement and innovation in information technology (IT) has, however, opened up new avenues and opportunities. The traditional way of doing business, interaction amongst people, and process used to support learning has changed a lot because of IT use. Traditionally, education dissemination has always been face-to-face or in-person, however, with the advent of the internet, new technologies and other associated information systems (IS), have offered new modes of delivery for teaching and learning. Utilisation of any technology-related component i.e., internet, software, hardware, device, and/or IT/IS based platforms to support the teaching and learning activity is also known as E-learning. As such, Elearning or technology-supported learning brings in many benefits (flexibility of time and space, cost-effective, interactive learning content, self-paced learning, wider reach, etc.). Despite the rooted benefits of the technology-assisted learning modules, failures of E-learning are well understood. E-learning-based IS projects still fail to deliver all functional objectives. Researchers, IT / IS implementors, and practitioners have all reported that these failures are due to underlying barriers / challenges / issues which hinder E-learning to deliver the promised benefits. Still, the educational institutes, employers, and students / learners have reservations about the E-learning systems. Many efforts have been made to highlight, understand, and remove the factors blocking the successful implementation of IT / IS learning systems. Still, however, the adoption of technology-based learning solutions was slow. The existence of hindering factors limits the usability and implementation of IT-based E-learning systems. Arguably this should not be the case since technology has indulged in every aspect of human society, the need to understand the E-learning implementation barriers is now more significant than ever. With this rhetoric, the identification of factors limiting the use of IT-based E-learning systems can assist the implementors, researchers, and institutes to understand the root causes of failures. Subsequently, strategic management for the removal of identified E-learning barriers can increase the likelihood of success and adoption. The above-mentioned narrative led to the creation of this thesis topic, i.e., to design and validate tool(s) to assess and understand the existence of E-learning implementation barriers. Evidence from the existing body of research highlights the existence of three prominent domains of Elearning implementation challenges, i.e., i) technological components that need to be utilised for delivering and / or receiving education, ii) user i.e., learner / student / end-consumer issues, and iii) methodological approaches i.e., pedagogy utilised to deliver education using E-learning components. The researcher thus outlined three objectives relating to the three identified domains (Technology, Individual & Pedagogy) of the IT / IS based learning challenges / barriers / issues. Utilising the quantitative survey methodology, three sets of questionnaires regarding the Technology, User / Individual, and Pedagogy related barriers were formulated. The theoretical underpinning of the E-learning barriers is provided through a conceptual framework, developed by Ali et al. (2018), termed the TIPEC (Technological, Individual, Pedagogical, and Enabling Conditions) framework of E-learning implementation challenges. TIPEC framework consists of sixty-eight (68) E-learning barriers grouped into four (4) conceptual categories. Thematic nature of the TIPEC framework provided the ontological structure of the E-learning barriers which aided the researcher in the further development of questionnaire items. Through crosssectional survey method, a total of 1166 responses were gathered from students of higher education institutes in Pakistan. Structural equation modeling was applied using SPSS and AMOS packages for factor analysis and instrument validation. Validation of diagnostic instruments for Technological, Individual, and Pedagogical categories signified the existence of thirty-nine (39) challenges related to E-learning barriers. Specifically, 5 for technological, 16 for individual/user, and 17 for pedagogical related barriers were highlighted. Appreciating the three main aspects of E-learning related courses can help the experts and implementors to design a new and/or improve an existing E-learning system. The resulting system will be durable, intuitive, user-friendly, cross-device compatible, and versatile enough to meet the educational demands of a wide range of disciplines. Moreover, applying the developed survey instrument also aid in highlighting the user requirements, expectations, and constraints. Future research can be conducted by using the instruments developed in different regions and comparing the relevance and existence of barriers in a cross-contextual comparison. The scope of the research can be expanded further by involving other stakeholders and exploring different levels of education.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Gulliver, S.
Thesis/Report Department:Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:112299
Date on Title Page:October 2022


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