Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Critical Success Factors for Adoption of Web-Based Learning Management Systems in Tanzania

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Critical Success Factors for Adoption of Web-Based Learning Management Systems in Tanzania

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The rapid developments of information and communication technologies specifically Internet technologies have created new opportunities for education. E-learning holds immense potential to enable higher institutions of learning to enhance teaching and learning experiences, improve access to educational resources and programmes, expand educational opportunities via distance-learning, and reduce the costs of education in the long-term. E-learning is an "innovative approach to education delivery via electronic forms of information that enhances the learner's knowledge, skills, or other performance" (Siritongthaworn and Krairit, 2006:138). E-learning has various benefits, such as personalized learning, increased access to information, effective means to standardize and deliver content, on-demand content availability, interactivity, self-pacing and building confidence (Bhuasiri et al., 2012). It consequently provides flexible, convenient and diverse learning environments to meet the disparate needs of learners (Bhrommalee, 2012). The e-learning approach can open the knowledge pipelines which instil a culture of inquisitiveness and enquiry in students and graduates that is critical for life-long learning. As compared to conventional learning styles, e-learning can offer a time-effective approaches and potentially reduce costs for classrooms and facilities, training, travel, printed materials, and labour (Bhuasiri et al., 2012).

The adoption of e-learning systems is becoming popular in higher learning institutions across the world including African universities. As a key higher education institution that develops human resources for health in Tanzania, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) revised its curricular to introduce innovative teaching and assessment methods, and improved its ICT infrastructure to enhance its teaching and learning activities since 2000s. MUHAS developed its ICT infrastructure and services by carrying out the following: established the optic fiber Local Area Network (LAN), increased access to greater numbers of computers, developed an online library catalogue, digital repository, and student academic record system, and subscribed to over 40 academic databases. The university has also introduced the learning management system (LMS) which is based on Moodle open source software. Despite the investments and applications of ICTs at the university, this institution has made little gains with the acceptance and usage of elearning systems for teaching and learning activities. Previous studies demonstrate that the introduction of e-learning technologies is often a difficult process and students and instructors will not always use it as predicted (Venter et al., 2012).

Some of the factors that affect the acceptance and usage of e-learning technologies in most institution in developing countries include the technological infrastructure, high cost of technology, instructional efforts, graduate competencies, technology satisfaction (Venter et al., 2012), management support, methodology, resource accessibility and availability, culture of education and learning styles, intellectual investment, design of assistive tools, and global business (Ndume et al., 2008). As demands for higher education and e-learning continue to expand in Africa, it is important to determine factors that influence the perceptions of students and faculty when using a specific e-learning technology. The success of an e-learning system relies on both its early adoption (acceptance) and its sustained usage (Tai et al., 2012). It is therefore important to understand the relevant factors that predict student's intention to continue using the e-learning system.

Various e-learning studies have been conducted in Africa, including the discussion of implementation or description of novel systems and their dissemination (Matti et al., 2010; Nagunwa and Lwoga, 2013; Rhema and Miliszewska, 2010), acceptance and adoption of elearning (Adeyinka and Mutula, 2010; Eke, 2011; Farahat, 2012; Tagoe, 2012; Venter et al. …

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