Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Adding Innovation Diffusion Theory to the Technology Acceptance Model: Supporting Employees' Intentions to Use E-Learning Systems

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Adding Innovation Diffusion Theory to the Technology Acceptance Model: Supporting Employees' Intentions to Use E-Learning Systems

Article excerpt


To maintain competitiveness and keep a highly-trained and educated workforce, organizations have invested considerable amount of time and resources in e-learning as a supplement to traditional types of training, because it can be simultaneously implemented company -wide, achieve immediacy, consistency and convenience, and is associated with higher profits and lower turnover, thus playing a significant role in training and development (DeRouin, Fritzche & Salas, 2005).

Many studies have discussed the benefits of e-learning applications (Ong, Lai, & Wang, 2004; Piccoli, Ahmad, & Ives, 2001). But, despite increased usage, underutilization remains a problem (Moore & Benbasat, 1991; Johansen & Swigart, 1996; Ong et al., 2004). Therefore, if learners fail to use-learning systems, the benefits of such systems will not be achievable (Pituch & Lee, 2006; McFarland & Hamilton, 2006). Researchers and practitioners alike strive to find answers to the problem by investigating individuals' decisions on whether or not to adopt e-learning systems that appear to promise substantial benefits (McFarland & Hamilton, 2006; Xu & Yuan, 2009; Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003). To this end, studies of user perceptions and of understanding factors involved in promoting effective use of these systems (Mun & Hwang, 2003) have become increasingly essential to improve understanding and prediction of acceptance and utilization (Lau & Woods, 2008). Prior empirical studies strived to explicate the determinants and mechanisms of users' adoption decisions on the basis of the technology acceptance model (TAM) (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989; Taylor & Todd, 1995; Venkatesh & Davis, 2000) with the conviction that the adoption process influences successful use of particular technology systems (Karahanna, Straub, & Chervany, 1999; Liao, Palvia, & Chen, 2009).

This study contributes to the TAM literature by examining the relationships between the innovation diffusion theory and TAM variables in the same model. We propose to examine the effects of motivational determinants on TAM constructs using IDT as a background theory. Thus, we employed five factors: relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability as determinants of perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEU) and behavioral intention to use (BI). This empirical study could be useful for developing and testing theories related to e-learning system acceptance, as well as to practitioners for understanding strategies for designing and promoting e-learning systems.

E-learning and TAM

The TAM has been widely used as the theoretical basis for many empirical studies of user technology acceptance and has partially contributed to understanding users' acceptance of information systems (IS)/information technology (IT) (Taylor & Todd, 1995; Venkatesh & Davis, 2000). Our research shows that many studies focus on the acceptance by students in educational institutions (Chang & Tung, 2008; Pituch & Lee, 2006), but acceptance within organizations is rarely covered, and very few studies have adopted the TAM as a model for explaining the use of an e-learning system designed and provided by organizations. TAM could be useful in predicting end-users' acceptance of an e-learning system in organizations (Davis et al., 1989; Arbaugh, 2002; Wu, Tsai, Chen, & Wu, 2006); additionally, existing antecedents of the technology acceptance intention in the TAM model do not sufficiently reflect the e-learning system end users' acceptance within organizations (Ong et al., 2004; Lau & Woods, 2008).

In our model, employees' PU of the e-learning systems is defined as the perception of degrees of improvement in learning because of adoption of such a system. PEU of the e-learning systems is the users' perception of the ease of adopting e-learning systems. …

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