Academics’ Adoption and Usage of Learning Management Systems in Saudi Arabia’s Universities
Learning Management Systems (LMS) have become a common feature in contemporary Higher Education institutions worldwide. LMS literature shows that the level of interest and/or knowledge among academics towards the importance and usefulness of these systems, and the opportunities they can bring to the teaching process are key factors affecting the degree of use of LMS in HE. To date, most of these studies have taken place in the context of developed countries, and there is only limited research in other areas. In recent years, LMS have been adopted widely in Saudi Arabia’s Higher Education sector, however, there are no strong and detailed data regarding the subject in this context, which could impede future developments. On the other hand, academics were chosen as the main focus of this investigation because studies have revealed that they have the most vital role in promoting and enhancing the use of LMS. Therefore, this research investigates academics’ adoption and usage of LMS in Saudi Arabia’s universities; it aims to understand the adoption conditions and identify what factors truly affect the adoption process and to what level are the systems being used and why. The investigation was guided by Grounded Theory research principles. Initially, a review of the literature identified the nature of LMS along with the issues confronting academics when they are trying to use it to its full potential in supporting the delivery of their courses. Afterwards, questionnaires were employed to further explore the phenomenon in its examined context, i.e. Saudi higher education. The generated data and concepts were then used to guide the research process and to develop interview questions. The interviews were carried out at three Saudi universities with a range of stakeholders, which signified the primary data source in this investigation. Analysis revealed that LMS did not emerge as a well-established component of academics’ activities in Saudi universities despite the positive view respondents expressed towards it. Findings also explained why LMS was either considered a secondary method to support face-to-face teaching, or under-utilised in fully online courses. Furthermore, findings revealed the primary factors influencing academics’ level of use of LMS. Moreover, there were issues identified in relation to the academics’ development and training for LMS, which had a significant effect on the academics’ level of use of LMS. Findings were then integrated into a substantive theory and a theoretical model, which represents the research primary outcome. The theoretical outcomes offer abstract explanation of the phenomenon about adopting innovatory systems in Saudi universities, LMS in this instance. In conclusion, suggestions for improving the current provision of LMS in Saudi Universities are made. Overall, this study provided an insight into the environment surrounding the early adoption phases of LMS in Saudi universities, which offers a better understanding of the phenomenon. Subsequently, this will help enhance the adoption process in current contexts and assist in the better future utilisation of these systems in similar situations.
- PhD