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Implementing a virtual learning environment (VLE) in a higher education institution: A change management approach

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Abstract

Many universities around the world are investing in implementing different Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to support the teaching and learning process. However, without an effective implementation, many objectives and advantages are unachieved. Therefore, a well designed strategy to follow is vital to the success of an effective implementation. There has not been that much attention in the literature of how to support and manage the change to a successful implementation of such technologies. This paper presents a suggested framework of an implementation plan for a VLE in a higher education institution. Discussion focuses on the need for an effective approach to change management that is flexible and able to vary in pace according to the needs of users. The framework is developed based on the e-learning change management literature and that and on the review of the literature which is based on the experience of a number of universities around the world. The paper also presents an investigation and identification of the main reasons behind resistance to change to the acceptance and adoption a VLE in higher education institutions.
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
42
IMPLEMENTING A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
(VLE) IN A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION: A
CHANGE MANAGEMENT APPROACH.
AREEJ A. ALHOGAIL 1, AND ABDULRAHMAN A. MIRZA 2
1 Department of Information Systems, College of Computer and Information Sciences, Imam Mohammed bin Saud
University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Information Systems, College of Computer and Information Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia
E-mail: areejah@yahoo.com 1 , amirza@ksu.edu.sa 2
ABSTRACT
Many universities around the world are investing in implementing different Virtual Learning Environments
(VLEs) to support the teaching and learning process. However, without an effective implementation, many
objectives and advantages are unachieved. Therefore, a well designed strategy to follow is vital to the
success of an effective implementation. There has not been that much attention in the literature of how to
support and manage the change to a successful implementation of such technologies. This paper presents a
suggested framework of an implementation plan for a VLE in a higher education institution. Discussion
focuses on the need for an effective approach to change management that is flexible and able to vary in
pace according to the needs of users. The framework is developed based on the e-learning change
management literature and that and on the review of the literature which is based on the experience of a
number of universities around the world. The paper also presents an investigation and identification of the
main reasons behind resistance to change to the acceptance and adoption a VLE in higher education
institutions.
Keywords: VLE, E-learning, Change Management, Higher Education, Change Resistance.
1. INTRODUCTION
The rapid exchange of information, and
networking in addition to the great advances in
information technology have encouraged most
universities world-wide to deploy ICT technologies
in their own strategies. There have been several
developments of a number of tools and web
services in order to accomplish the objectives of
publishing the course content, facilitating
communication and in answering institutional daily
needs in order to support learning flexibility and
cost efficiency. In fact, contemporary ICT
technologies have provided many supports and
facilities to enhance modern learning settings [1].
One of the popular options world-wide in higher
education institutions is the Virtual Learning
Environment (VLE). The VLE provides a unified
platform for content delivery, communications,
assessment, and course management; with managed
interfaces linked to the institution’s central
information systems and resources [2, 3]. It also
helps to improve students’ skills through engaging
them in online learning activities and
communication [4]. Unfortunately, however,
without effective implementation, many features
and tools of the VLE are left unused [5, 6].
For any university that aims to implement a VLE
successfully, it will be a great challenge that needs
strategic planning to ensure the efficient acceptance
and facilitation of effective implementation. The
pure installation and integration of the system
across the university without addressing cultural
changes through strategic planning and
programmes could lead to a failure in the adoption
[7, 8]. Research surveys suggest that higher
education institutions lack coordinated strategies
for implementing new e-learning technologies, and
are typically relying on evolving local initiatives
[5].Therefore, a well designed programme of
change management is required to prepare the users
for the VLE, reduce their resistance, gain their
acceptance and involvement and then ensure an
effective use. In fact, the development of strategic
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
43
plans that address change management, supporting
staff, and establish a technical infrastructure is a
key success factor that is needed to keep up with
current higher education requirements and
challenges [9].
This paper suggests a framework that is based on
a change management approach that is derived
from the evidence emerging from the literature, for
a successful implementation of a VLE in higher
education Institutions. Discussion focuses on the
need for a framework that consists of multiple tasks
and is flexible and able to vary in pace of adoption
based on the needs of individual staff and
departments.
In the remainder of this paper we will give
background information of VLEs in higher
education institutions followed by a review of the
research literature with regard to change
management towards VLE adoption in higher
education institutions. Moreover, an investigation
and identification of the main reasons behind the
resistance to change to use a VLE is presented.
Finally, a framework for the successful
implementation of VLEs in higher education
institutions is proposed followed by a conclusion.
2. THE VIRTUAL LEARNING
ENVIRONMENTS (VLES)
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a
learning management system that is designed to
support teaching and learning in an educational
setting over the network from remote locations. It
enables the delivery of course contents and
management. It provides the ability for users to
communicate easily [2, 4]. It also integrates the
student information systems and authentication
protocols to control who access what via user name
and password [10]. A VLE could be linked to the
university administrative systems enabling the
access to students’ records ensuring accurate
student data [11].
Different VLEs are commonly used recently.
There are several available VLE software systems
in both forms, commercial such as Blackboard; and
open source such as Moodle, Sakai and ATutor
[12].
VLEs have presented radical pedagogical change
in the learning experience. Using VLE could
reinforce and support face-to-face traditional
teaching and learning in higher education. It adds
many options for both learners and tutors [1].
Moreover, it encourages collaborative learning
through online engagement between students and
their tutors or peers [3, 4, 13]. The focus is on the
enhancement of the student learning experience,
rather than the adoption of technology as the key
driver of change [3].
Most higher education institutions are using or
planning to use a VLE, for one reason or another,
whether for distance or blended learning [14] .VLE
offers a range of learning tools and functions that
aid in delivering, communicating, and managing
the course. For instance, communication facilities
such as e-mail and discussion board;
announcements and a bulletin board facility;
assessments and testing facilities;
scheduling/calendar; assignment submission;
integrated web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs,
whiteboard, and authoring tools; polls; and many
other features. It also allows the sharing and reuse
of resources [4, 10, 13].
Modern mass higher education presents many
challenges for both learners and educators as it has
brought larger classes, more diverse students, and
higher interest in teaching quality and graduate
attributes [15]. Many research papers conclude that
students and academics in higher education
institutions around the world were positive towards
VLE. They found that VLEs are very useful and
had made a significant contribution to the learning
experience adding significantly to the learning
opportunities of 21st century students [3, 14, 15].
3. CHANGE MANAGEMENT TO ADOPT
VLES
The implementation of VLE in any higher
education Institution requires a well planned
strategy to guarantee success. However, even great
e-learning strategy and systems are not enough to
guarantee success. Without a clear and well-thought
out implementation strategy and plan, the
implementation efforts will most likely fall to
achieve the institutions’ goals, learners' needs, and
the management expectations [7].
The real value of a VLE, not only lies in its
ability to deliver and communicate to anyone,
anytime, and anywhere; but in its ability to deliver
the right knowledge to the right people at the right
time [8]. Research studies show that any university
wishing to successfully implement a VLE should
have to adopt and implement tactics that have the
capacity to overcome existing social and cultural
constraints. A framework of change needs to be
established. The move towards implementing a
VLE requires a well prepared program that is
designed to enable smooth implementation and
effective use. However, the process of change
management to implement e-learning in general has
been inadequately investigated in the literature and
needs more attention [16, 17].
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
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Simply purchasing or developing a VLE does not
necessarily lead to success. The acceptance and
effective use of features is critically dependant on
how these technologies are implemented.
Successful implementation of such technologies
requires among other things a human resource
strategy to develop the necessary stakeholders’
skills and engage them in the process [18, 19].
Change and evolution do not only affect the
technological aspects [16] but people will be
affected too, therefore, major attention should be
dedicated to them.
Taylor [19] argued that any e-learning
development needs proactive human intervention
that benefits from the implementation of explicit
change management strategies. Nevertheless, there
does not appear to be a single clear and ready
model that ensures that a VLE will be implemented
successfully. However, the institution’s context is
crucial to the choice of tactics and strategies that
probably lead to success. Expanding the use of any
e-learning technology in an institution requires a
clear analysis of the organization’s strengths and
weaknesses viewed against its strategic goals.
Therefore, the consideration of institution context is
essential in the planning of any change programme
[6]. Strategic management techniques should be
created to allow the institutions to balance the
pressures of change, continuity, and availability of
resources [20]. Clear strategies of applying any new
e-learning technology should be in place and should
not be left for emergent local initiatives [5].
Sharpe et al. [6] noticed that without effective
implementation, the use of the VLE was relatively
unsophisticated and focused on content delivery
and administrative information [5]. They mentioned
that patchy implementation, evidenced by missed
deadlines and targets, influenced academic staff
perceptions of the real value of e-learning. The
results of ineffective use are loss of quality and
much frustration; as no VLE will ever be enough in
itself to create better learning experience; it needs
appropriate, well-supported and focused human
intervention, good learning design or pedagogical
input and the sensitive handling of the process by
trained tutors [14].
The introduction of a VLE within higher
education represents a change in teaching practices
which needs to be carefully managed [17].
Therefore, when a university introduces a VLE, it is
sensible to control change by applying a change
management approach that involves different
activities, together with evaluation of the
environment, measuring the performance gap,
diagnosing organizational problems, recognizing
sources of resistance, diminishing resistance,
implementing change, and following up on the
changes [15, 20].
Applying e-learning technologies lead to
significant savings in investment in the delivery and
support of courses, if combined by strategic
transformation within institutions [21]. Beckton
[11] pointed out that adopting any VLE will
represent a significant investment on the part of the
University, so it must be “sold well” for staff to use
it properly. Success is crucial because an
unsuccessful effort to implement the VLE will be
clearly reflected in terms of the return on
investment [8]. Only with effective use, a VLE can
yield a justifiable return on investment considering
the costs incurred in implementing it.
A clear vision should be in place at the senior
management level so that staff can gain
understanding of why change is important and
necessary. Strategic planning should be drawn
based on institutional experiences of applying e-
learning services. This could enable the institution
to control the pace of the implementation of a VLE,
establishing policy, support services, and evaluative
feedback procedures, which lead to a realistic and
effective approach to change management [3, 22].
Many studies conclude that the successful
implementation of VLEs will ultimately depend on
academics agreeing that the proposals are
reasonable. For instance, the conclusion of the
Goolink [21] study showed that if the concerns of
academic staff are acknowledged and their needs
appreciated, then e-learning initiatives that are
backed up by appropriate range of scalable
developmental program opportunities will have a
greater chance of gaining success and support.
Successful programs are those that acknowledge
staff needs and their varying amounts of
availability, taking into account the pace of change,
development time, staff skills, and taking into
account the need for on-going training and
development [21]. Oliver [1] argued that for the
implementation to be successful, it needs to be
driven by the bottom-up forces, by the teachers and
students themselves. Moreover, Stiles and Yorke
[23] stated that implementing e-learning technology
requires a holistic view of staff development and
training. The level of training and support available
to academic staff has been crucial to the success of
such projects, a factor often underemphasized in
change, and one that has previously undermined the
success of many e-learning projects [3].
Researchers observe that if changes are
introduced through modest e-learning policies then
VLE in teaching and learning becomes naturally
widespread, usually as part of blended traditional
teaching methods [3, 22]. Such change was as
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
45
much cultural as technical and that for the change
to be accomplished; it had to work with the existing
culture, rather than trying to change it [11, 15].
Given the complex structure of higher education
institutions, implementing e-learning is not always
an easy, robust and secure [5]. McPherson and
Nunes [17] suggested that if implementation of e-
learning is to be successful, the way forward seems
to be for the institution to manage the change
process by proposing and agreeing goals through
consensual debate, supporting strategies
appropriately and then realising these through
common commitment. Some researchers in
organisational change management prefer to view
the universities as a living adaptive system in order
to build an integrated understanding of individual
lecturers, and organizational context and the
learning materials’ technologies that they are using
such as books, notes, blackboard and other advance
Web 2.0 tools. Those researchers draw on concepts
from physical sciences and evolutionary biology
with the purpose of developing models of complex
organizational change processes such as
universities growth process, and process of change
interaction with the forms of learning and teaching.
Based on that, they have concluded that change
which is harmonized across the institution will
always give an improved result over piecemeal
change [5].
3.1 The Experience of the Implementation of e-
Learning Systems in Higher Education
Institutions
In the literature, there has been several research
papers that have discussed the experience of a
number of universities around the world to
implement an e-learning system. There are not
many, yet it could be a starting point to look at and
benefit from the experience in order to establish a
well formed strategy and plans. For instance:
Beastall and Walker [3] have discussed an
implementation model based on a change
management approach, for the VLE at York
University, UK, that involves a 4-year cycle of pilot
projects and evaluation, culminating in a full
availability rollout at the end of the forth year.
Their research suggest that successful change
management relies on clear strategic ‘top down’
management combined with ‘bottom up’ active
involvement in order to successfully implement
sustainable change that is clearly focus on the needs
of the students.
Sharpe et al. [6] describes the implementation of
an e-learning strategy at Oxford Brookes
University. Their implementation’s strategy
focused on the levers used to promote effective
uptake and ensure sustainable embedding. In their
strategy, the centre of attention was the
participation of the academic schools in using a
range of change practices. They determined that the
key factors were: flexibility in practices that allow
schools to contextualize their plans for change, the
facilitation of user groups of key staff and creating
opportunities for staff to voice and challenge their
beliefs about e-learning.
Beckton [11] mentioned that in order to remedy
the resistance for change to the adoption of a VLE
at Lincoln University, UK, a specialized
development unit was created. Their first task was
to increase the awareness and use of the VLE
across the university. Becton [11] claimed that the
greatest key to success in implementing VLE is to
focus on what users of the system required and to
give them the opportunity to express those needs
rather than focussing on what the system could do
for them.
The e-learning implementation model of Stiles
and Yorke’s [23] suggests ‘integrative
development’, whereby the implementation team is
shaped at the start by a range of experts, involving
academics as course leaders, librarians, trainers,
and IT Staff from the IT department. However, the
authors highlighted that without enough strategic
planning that embraces the management of change,
any implementation could be susceptible to failure.
In the University of Sydney [27], the e-Learning
development processes have followed project
management principles to support strategic project-
based collaborations between e-learning specialists
and a team of academic staff in order to support
academics in educational change and to implement
innovation. Their main processes included: an
extended application and planning period in order
to articulate and prioritize needs and requirement
that was followed by a conceptual planning process
and then finally came the learning and evaluation
period.
The experience of implementing a VLE at H.P
University in India revealed the need for the
institution to reengineer itself, understand how
competition will differ in the future and based on
that, strategic planning for e-learning
implementation must be well designed and it must
take into consideration a change management
approach in order to gain competitive advantage in
the changed educational environment [20].
In summary, successful implementations of VLEs
requires careful strategic planning that is based on a
change management approach, in order to prepare
the users and to ensure their commitment to
efficient and proper use.
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
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4. RESISTANCE TO CHANGE TO ADOPT
VLE IN HIGHER EDUCATION
INSTITUTIONS
Most organizational changes are unsuccessful
because of different forms of resistance. Some
people within an organization may be against the
implementation of the VLE. Therefore, it is
important to understand why people may resist the
change [20]. People are the most important asset in
any organization, and their commitment could be
the main factor in determining effective
implementation of any IT project [24]. For the
implementation team, getting to know reasons
behind the resistance could help them in planning
to address these issues in order to overcome the
resistance to change.
In the literature, there are several reported reasons
behind the resistance to adopt a VLE in a higher
education institution, or other similar e-learning
systems. For instance, Goolnik [21] mentioned that
faculty members may feel that they have less
control than before over their working lives; they
have to change their teaching practices; they feel
that it might lower quality of courses; they fear lack
of official recognition for work with new
technologies; and they worry about intellectual
property rights and ownership of materials
produced. In addition, lack of time, lack of IT
skills; and the feeling that getting involved with
VLEs is not part of their specified roles [11].
Salmon [14] mentioned that VLEs present a
migration away from existing traditional pedagogy
and faculty prefer to preserve their existing and
familiar pedagogical approaches. Furthermore,
academic staff may fear that it will increase their
workload, as it increases the time spent with
students online, and the time required for preparing
course material [3]. Other factors consist of fear,
conflict of interests, misinterpretation, differences
in evaluation, inadequate resources, and lack of
motivation and commitment from both staff and
students [20]. Other general factors behind the
resistance to change are: habit, persistence, self-
distrust, and insecurity [24].
Oliver [1] suggested that there are also some
factors behind the low use of e-learning
technologies in universities world-wide such as, the
standard assessment measures that do not
encourage the use of ICT in course delivery; tutors
prefer directed teaching modes; and the limited
access to ICT.
Change will not be adopted by all at the same
time and at the same level, therefore, a variety of
strategies should be called upon to suit the different
levels of tendency to change. Some people will be
instant adopters. Others may be short term, long
term, or may never use VLE in any form. Hence, it
is imperative to determine each type of person and
design the best methods to overcome any possible
resistance [20].
Resistance to change is expected, so preparations
must be substantially enough to help individuals to
realize changes gradually [6, 17]. Resistance is
likely to be overcome if the academic staff are fully
involved in the design, development and
understanding of the need for change. They need to
understand their new roles [21] which ensure their
involvement and commitment. Senior management
in most organizations expect obedience and loyalty
from those who work for them without addressing
their wants and needs which is typically the greatest
reason behind the failure of commitment and
acceptance from employees [24].
Sharma et al. [20] have suggested some actions to
be taken to diminish the resistance, which are: (1)
educating workforce and other stakeholders; (2)
allowing the affected people and other stakeholders
to contribute; and (3) bargaining with both internal
and external stakeholders.
In summary, resistance to change is behind the
failure of most IT based projects. Therefore,
addressing and realizing the factors behind the
resistance to change could lead to a better planning
of the successful implementation of the VLE
strategies.
5. PROPOSED FRAMEWORK OF THE
SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF A
VLE
This section presents a suggested framework of a
change management program to implement a VLE
effectively in a higher education institution. This
framework has been developed based on literature
review representing the experience of a number of
universities around the world: York University [3];
the University of Lincoln [11]; Oxford Brookes
University [6]; and, H.P. University [20]. In
addition, a review of change management literature
has been referred to as well.
The proposed framework should follow a
practical proactive approach. It is found that
institutions that are practical in their VLE
implementation have fewer problems and are more
successful than those that implement a reactive
approach [20]. In a practical approach, the change
team should gain control of change activities which
enhance effectiveness and efficiency by proactively
dealing with possible unwanted problems. On the
other hand, the actions in a reactive approach will
be taken based on issues as they are arising.
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
47
Figure 1: Framework to a successful implementation of a VLE in a higher Education Institution that is based on a
change management approach.
Controlled change enables the institution to move
into new strategic directions and building a
competitive advantage on the foundation of
efficient VLE implementation.
This framework is comprised of multiple tasks
that ensure successful implementation. Figure 1
presents a visual representation of the framework.
The following paragraphs describe each component
of this framework in more detail.
Analysis of the institutional context
The consideration of the institution context is
essential in the planning of any change program [6,
14]. The institution goals and strategies should be
analyzed in the views of its strengths, weaknesses
and opportunities; and based on that, change tactics
and speed are planned At this stage it is important
to work at the departmental level and develop
ownership and commitment by involving heads of
departments and other senior managers, starting by
making them aware of good practices that already
exist.
Sufficiency of resources
Resources are very important to the success of
any e-learning implementation [17]. Sharma et al.
[20] caution that the deficiency of human and
infrastructure resources may hinder the
implementation of a VLE. Resources should also
include training and support funding.
Selection of the VLE that supports the language of
academic staff and students
The VLE should support the language of the
students and academic staff in universities in
countries where English is not the native spoken
language. Language barrier could obstruct the
appropriate use of the VLE. To illustrate,
proficiency in English was a common barrier to an
efficient use of the ICT in academic related
applications in an Arabic university since most
resources were available only in English [25]. The
selection of the VLE basic language to be used
must take into account the intercultural
particularities to promote the use. Electronic
translation tools also could be added to convert
learning materials that have been created in one
language to another language at a relatively low
cost [26]. The calendar is another issue that also
could be considered as one of the intercultural
problems that should be thought of, as
recommended by Barajas and Owen [26], due to the
official use of different calendars format such as
solar and lunar ones in different countries around
the world.
Getting people support and ownership
Resistance to change is expected, so the
preparations must be substantially enough to help
individuals realize changes gradually. Individual
lecturers’ motivations to make use of technology
must be understood and addressed [6]. This task
will be covered in two different tasks that will be
followed by two other tasks:
Creation of the user coalition group that
covers all stakeholders
In order to balance the tensions between
technical, organizational and pedagogical
considerations across the entire institution [11], and
to achieve a successful change [17, 18], a user
group should be established. This group should
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
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include committed representatives from all
interested sectors: technical team, senior
management, academic staff from all participating
departments, students, and registration staff.
Inviting the group’s feedback on the planning and
rollout of the system could give an excellent
perspective on the problems that may arise and
what could be done to resolve them [3, 6]. At this
group regular meeting, focus should be drawn on
what users of the system want and to give them
plenty of opportunity to articulate those needs
rather than focusing on what the system could do
for them [11].
Nevertheless, Ward et al., [27] warned that it
could be a challenge to create new teams with
members from different specialized knowledge
areas, and who are required to share understanding
of how their strengths and skills shall interact
effectively.
Design training programs to empower
people to effect change
With the aid of the human resource department, a
very comprehensive program of different
workshops, seminars and training programs should
be developed to equip staff with the required IT
skills and introductory courses of how to use the
VLE such as using tools; creating the content; and
how to create and contribute to discussion groups
[23]. Sharpe et al. [6] suggested linking the staff
development section to the existing annual staff
development planning cycle and its associated
funding which will enable planning for VLE to be
integrated into existing university systems.
Creation of the change agents team to
communicate the change vision
Out of the user coalition group, change agents
should be selected to facilitate and manage the
change in the university. Change agents should plan
and monitor the implementation, educate staff and
students about the importance of VLE. The team
needs to use every possible way to constantly
communicate the new vision and strategies and to
sell the VLE to all appropriate addressees [18].
They also need to communicate with top
management to always gain their approval and
support. Furthermore, they need to talk to the end
users who are going to use the system. One of the
objectives of change management is to ensure that
as many people as possible are positive towards the
changes.
The adoption of a VLE can be much more
successfully diffused within an institution using
appropriate communication channels such as
change agents and opinion leaders instead of
distanced, formalized recommendations from the
management [21]. Change agents can be used to
broaden the word about the VLE and its returns for
the educational institution. Involving them early in
awareness raising can increase the chances of
success [20]. Change agents must create credibility
and sustaining movement; they must diagnose any
problems, providing information and working
across traditional boundaries of the institution. In
addition, they must understand the situation from a
faculty’s perspective [21].
Increasing the awareness of the selected
VLE
After designing programs in the task mentioned
above; staff should be encouraged to undertake the
personal development of the VLE training that
should cover IT skills, and content development in
order to develop their understanding of the VLE
[6]. Training should include transformation of
academic practice in the sharing and collaborative
development of learning and teaching resources, as
well as attitudes to copyright and accessibility. It
should target personalized learning pathways, skills
development and student focused activities through
online engagement between students and staff
[3].Training and support available to staff is crucial
to the success of VLE implementation [18].
Setting of clear targets
In change management, it is sensible to set
quantitative assessment measures and benchmarks.
The easily identifiable target could be that all
courses should have some kind of web presence by
specific date. Sharp et al. (2006) reported that this
was actually the most common type of successful
target in implementation strategies. However, such
target could result in promoting the use of VLE for
its own sake, but not in improving the student
experience by incorporating effective use of all
functions of the VLE. Other measures could be
introduced; for example, interaction oriented
measures or content oriented measures. In
interaction oriented measures, the frequency of
announcements placed, or the rate of activity in
discussion boards or forums could be used. In
content focused targets, the content placed by
instructors could be measured such as the
placement of table of content, objectives and lecture
notes. . The failure to meet any targets should be
analyzed in order to understand why it happened.
Establishing VLE help desk
Help desks should be established in order to
provide the required technical help and support for
all VLE’s users whether academic staff or students.
Help desks should provide single point of contact
for users for troubleshooting, assistance, and
information regarding the VLE.
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
49
Table 1: A comparison of the carrying out of each task of the framework in four universities VLE
implementation cases.
Gradual implementation of the VLE across the
university
The implementation of the VLE should be done
gradually to control the pace of the rollout of the
VLE, support services and evaluate feedback
procedures while gradually scaling up user access
to the system [3]. The implementation could start
with the some colleges where the use of IT is
mature. This provides the ability to try the system
and to identify any bottlenecks or problems; and
the ability to report such problems to the VLE
implementation team. More colleges should be
gradually introduced to the system after the initial
phase. The phased nature of the implementation
will enable the system to be fully tested out with
support and training [3, 22].
In order to relate the proposed framework to the
experience of universities in implementing VLE,
the data covered in these papers have been
summarized and consolidated and compared
against each proposed task in the framework and
then tabulated in table 1. From the table, the
reader can notice that all the four implementation
strategies have focused on getting people support
and ownership in order to facilitate the successful
change. Sufficiency of resources was not
addressed in three of the cases, however, in
different e-learning change management
literature, this issue has been emphasized. Setting
clear targets have been addressed implicitly by
H.P case by providing appraisal performance
methods. VLE help desk had not been established
in H.P University, however, technical support
help for teachers within the educational institution
and outsourcing training efforts had been
provided. The University of Lincoln was planning
to go for “big bang” implementation approach but
they founded that Beastall and Walker [3] gradual
implementation is safer in order to give their
potential users as much opportunity as possible to
articulate their needs. However, they did not say
that they will follow gradual implementation
explicitly.
6. CONCLUSION
The twentieth century has seen a remarkable
expansion in student enrolment numbers in higher
education which creates greater challenges for
institutions. Higher education institutions have
The Task York
University
[3]
University
of
Lincoln
[11]
Oxford
Brookes
University
[6]
H.P.
University
[20] The Task York
University
[3]
University
of
Lincoln
[11]
Oxford
Brookes
University
[6]
H.P.
University
[20]
Analysis of the
institutional context
Creation of the
change agents
team to
communicate
the change
vision
Sufficiency of
resources
Increasing the
awareness of the
selected VLE
Selection of the
VLE that support
the language of
academic staff and
students.
None of these came across this task, as in
all the four universities cases, language
was not a problem.
Setting of clear
targets *
Getting people
support and
ownership
Establishing
VLE help desk *
Creation of the user
coalition group that
cover all
stakeholders
Gradual
implementation
of the VLE
across the
university
*
Design training
programs to
empower people to
effect change
Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
50
invested in learning technologies, so expectations
increase for traditional learning and teaching
systems to adapt and change. VLEs are the most
common ICT technology that is used world-wide
nowadays to support traditional learning in higher
education institutions. However, without effective
implementation that addresses the users’ needs
and requirements, failure could be expected.
Educational technologies such as VLEs lack
sufficient support for change in implementation
[16, 17] and there has not been that much
attention in the literature of how to support and
manage the change to a successful
implementation of a VLE in higher education
institutions.
Academics are unlikely to simply accept the
VLE as imposed from the top without real
opportunities for debate and negotiation.
Resistance to change could present a great
challenge to the effective implementation of
VLEs. A number of reasons behind the resistance
have been presented in the paper. A carefully
designed change management program could help
in reducing or even overcoming the resistance.
The implementation plan should be sensitive to
the different needs of departments and users with
different VLE adoption targets that departments
are required to meet, along with different training
programs reflecting the broader objectives of the
change management process [3].
The proposed framework is developed based on
the review of the literature of previous experience
of VLE implementation in different universities
and on e-learning change management. It offers
the capacity for the implementation of change
across the institution at an appropriate rate, with
stakeholders invited to contribute feedback and
shape the adoption process. The implementation
of a strategy that is based on a change
management approach would increase the uptake
of VLE at higher Education institutions, and
promote the development of effective usage of
VLEs.
The next stage is to test this framework by
applying it as a case study to build strong
evidence that the proposed approach can provide
an added value to the strategies of implementing
VLEs in higher education institutions around the
world.
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Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology
15th September 2011. Vol. 31 No.1
© 2005 - 2011 JATIT & LLS. All rights reserved.
ISSN: 1992-8645 www.jatit.org E-ISSN: 1817-3195
52
AUTHOR PROFILES:
MS. AREEJ A. ALHOGAIL, is a lecturer in the
department of Information Systems at Imam
Mohammed ibn Saud Islamic University. She
received her BSc. degree in Computing and
Multimedia systems in 2003 from Leeds
Metropolitan University, UK; and MSc in
Information Systems Management in 2008 from
DeMontfort University, UK. Currently, she is
pursuing a PhD degree in Information Systems at
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. Research
interests of her include e-learning, e-business, and
the management of information systems.
Dr. ABDULRAHMAN A. MIRZA is the
current Chairman of the IS department at King
Saud University. He is also the vice director of
the Center of Excellence in Information
Assurance. Dr. Mirza received a Fulbright Senior
Scholar award from the US State Department
during the academic year of 2002/2003. He
completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1995
from Illinois Institute of Technology. His M.S. in
Operations Research and Management Sciences
as well as his B.S. in CS were completed from
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Research
interests of Dr. Mirza include information
security and e-business.
... Framework for successful implementation of LMS. Adapted from Alhogail & Mirza (2011) ........ 18 Figure 10 Beliefs Underlying the Conduct of Research. Adapted from Orlikowski & Baroudi (1991, p. 8) 19 Figure 11 The projected time plan for implementation of Canvas. ...
... This use of Ambassadors raise an interesting question about whether the configuration (set-up) of the LMS will be representative for the majority of users or if it only reflects the Ambassadors thoughts´ and assumptions about how the LMS functionality should be set up. As stated by Alhogail & Mirza (2011) an implementation project need to address some actions/activities in order to secure a successful implementation of an LMS. The specific actions/activities that might apply to this project are: ...
... One way of looking at an implementation of LMS, specifically is by using a framework suggested by Alhogail & Mirza (2011) which consists of the following components (See figure 9 for an overview): ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Case study on an implementation of an LMS and its perceived effects on teachers. Abstract Learning Management Systems (LMS) is a widespread information system used in many Higher Education Institutes (HEI) in order to facilitate educational efforts. The system can be used for support in campus courses; courses conducted on the Internet and of course a mixture of these usages. This study attempts to understand the process of the implementing an LMS at a specific HEI. The HEI has made several implementations over the last 6 years, but decided to implement a new LMS during 2018. The focus of the study is the perceived effects on teachers in the implementation and the role a group of so-called Ambassadors played in the implementation. The study applied a social constructivist approach, mixing interviews, observation and survey as methods for data collection from teachers and implementation project management at the HEI. The study applied thematic analysis in order to analyse the collected data. The analysis built on five themes, Ambassadors, Implementation, Major concerns, Pedagogy, and System Literacy. Findings suggest that time management issues created the major effect on the daily work of teachers and that the group of Ambassadors in their role acted as a form of change agents, thus influencing the implementation project positively. Findings also suggested that only a few teachers took the opportunity to apply new pedagogical features to their teaching, in connection with the implementation. Finally, findings suggested that, in line with previous research, that the LMS is not used fully, as some teachers tends to use only minor functionalities in the LMS.
... Administrative feature could include accessibility (passwords, usernames), calendars, general information about courses, announcements, assessment performance analysis, specific user tools (web pages, electronic diaries). Thus, the VLE provides a unified platform for content delivery, communications, assessment, and course management; with interface to the HE's central information systems and resources further increasing its functionality (Alhogail and Mirza, 2011;Stiles, 2007). These aspects have been acknowledged by McAvinia (2016) who also highlights the importance of security and privavy of the VLEs in facilitating online activities and interaction between learners and lecturers. ...
... Communication and interactions are, thus, a major theme in eLearning and analytics studies. These encompass wikis, email, chat, dashboards, whiteboards, announcements, resources among others (Alhogail and Mirza, 2011;McAvinia, 2016;Pattanasith et al., 2015;Stiles, 2007). It is through the communication and interactive processes that a 'virtual' community of users is created. ...
Thesis
This research was aimed at developing a framework that could be utilised to assess the maturity level of learning analytics (LA) in virtual learning environment (VLE) in higher education institutions (HEI). The assessment of the maturity level of LA in VLE in HEI contributes to enhancing the educational learning programmes and academic services offering to the learners. However, most HEIs often do not know where to start from in implementing programmes for using VLE and LA; thus, the contribution of this study to offer guidance for HEIs.
... All tools offered by a HE institution should align with those used in courses and programmes. Alhogail and Mirza (2011) describe the implementation of a VLE from a change management perspective. ...
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In recent decades, higher education has embraced the concept of blended teaching, the design and facilitation of online and face-to-face learning activities. As such initiatives are embedded in the formal context of an institution, educational managers and other decision makers are in search of evidence for creating sustainable conditions that facilitate and support blended teaching. In this paper, the authors present the guidelines articulated by the European Maturity Model that address such concerns. These were developed during a three-year joint effort between seven European project partners. For each guideline, background information in line with the foundations of the European Maturity Model is included, as well as examples and references to predominantly open access resources. It is hoped that the results might inspire key actors within higher education or scholars that are investigating models for continuous improvement in the field of blended teaching and education.
... This way of proceeding in learning within virtual contexts provides the basis for forming a citizenship prepared for responsible action in digital environments, enabling it to act within and outside the contexts of formal education, socially committed and involved in lifelong learning. There are many e-learning models that have been developed in recent decades to give consistency to virtual learning environments as a result of technological advance, among them we can highlight the five-stage model of Salmon (2002Salmon ( , 2004 , the virtual learning environment model for higher education institutions (Alhogail & Mirza, 2011) or the learning technology system architecture developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Barr, 2017). Computer supported collaborative learning (Silverman, 1995;Stahl et al., 2006) integrates the use of various applications of communication tools (Slack, Edmodo, Skype, ClassDojo, etc.) and moves towards the design of learning experiences through the use of social networks (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.;Chen & Chang, 2012). ...
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In recent decades, the incipient technological development has generated a radical change in the way people access and transmit knowledge. Educational institutions must have a teaching staff adapted to new forms of consuming information. The purpose of this research is to know the media competence of Spanish teachers, from the perspective of families of schoolchildren in primary education. This analysis is based on the investigation published by 50 renowned international experts in media competence, which revolves around six major dimensions. In our analysis, we focused on the processes of interaction, production, and dissemination of content by teachers on YouTube. A questionnaire has been devised with a sample formed by 1228 families, a personal interview with a sample formed by 20 families, and a comparative analysis of the productions and interaction of amateur teachers on YouTube platform and of recognized “edutubers,” as well as the use given to the dissemination of content on social networks. In the results obtained, the profile of a teaching staff that is increasingly disseminating and producing on social networks stands out, becoming content creators through their own YouTube channels, which also proposes tools for an interaction adapted to the centennial generation, using different digital communication tools. Differences were found comparing the three dimensions involved in this analysis, with teachers obtaining more positive evaluations as producers and as interactors in private schools than in subsidized and public schools. Likewise, differences were found between nano-influencers and macro-influencers in the use of aesthetic elements that make up the videos analyzed among the “edutubers.”
... Distance learning is not a new concept in the education sector. In fact, with the growth of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), many universities and schools worldwide, such as the UAE, have already deployed and implemented ICT technologies in their own strategies by using one of ICT's offered resources, which is the Online Learning Platforms (OLPs) also known as virtual learning environments [1,2]. By doing so, such countries continued promoting and improving their teaching and learning within schools and higher institutions, even with self-and distance learning. ...
... Distance learning is not a new concept in the education sector. In fact, with the growth of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), many universities and schools worldwide, such as the UAE, have already deployed and implemented ICT technologies in their own strategies by using one of ICT's offered resources, which is the Online Learning Platforms (OLPs) also known as virtual learning environments [1,2]. By doing so, such countries continued promoting and improving their teaching and learning within schools and higher institutions, even with self-and distance learning. ...
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In the pursuit of keeping Kuwait's education active during unfortunate times, it is essential to turn to non-conventional learning methods such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). The tools and expertise are readily available at first glance; however, it is important that we further examine the primary roll-out of this framework and monitor its' overall impact on the primary stakeholders-the students, who are often left out of the conversation. In this paper, we reached out to students in higher education universities in Kuwait, in order to gain insight on their perspectives in terms of emotional and social impact of COVID-19 on online education, and their overall sentiment regarding the roll out of VLE in their institutes. We investigated the sentiments of 309 students from three private universities in Kuwait currently undergoing VLE models and platforms as mediums of study for the first time. This insight from a first-person point of view will give feedback on the emotional and social implications of online learning as experienced by the students, the future expectations of the students involved, and how they felt about the way their respective institutes implemented VLE's for the first time. A questionnaire was used to examine the how the mentioned impacts sentiments of their first-hand experiences. It was found that, due to the emotional and social impact of COVID-19, virtual learning was deemed less efficient than in-class learning as currently experienced by the mentioned students. Also, the majority agreed that despite the emotional stress experienced during the pandemic, most respondents reported having a positive outlook towards the future of their higher education careers. The findings are significant as they provide insightful observations on the need for psychosis s they shine the light on the need for prioritizing mental awareness during stressful times. As well, they give way to further analysis of psycho-related studies to investigate the impacts of involuntary online education.
... Therefore, a well-planned strategy was really needed. Areej & Abdulrahman (2011) presented the proposal VLE implementation framework in higher education institutions and one of the issue have been address was the training designs programs to increase awareness of the use of VLE. In line with the above, Sharifah & Kamarul (2011) found that teachers who were ready to implement teaching using the ICT approach have a strong relation between work and behavior. ...
... Study the learning material through a virtual environment, can improve the quality of student learning [10]. The use of VLE can help improve the skills and achievements of students [11] [12]. ...
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Many institutions of Higher Education and Corporate Training Institutes are resorting to e-Learning as a means of solving authentic learning and performance problems, while other institutions are hopping onto the bandwagon simply because they do not want to be left behind. Success is crucial because an unsuccessful effort to implement e-Learning will be clearly reflected in terms of the return of investment. One of the most crucial prerequisites for successful implementation of e-Learning is the need for careful consideration of the underlying pedagogy, or how learning takes place online. In practice, however, this is often the most neglected aspect in any effort to implement e-Learning. The purpose of this paper is to identify the pedagogical principles underlying the teaching and learning activities that constitute effective e-Learning. An analysis and synthesis of the principles and ideas by the practicing e-Learning company employing the author will also be presented, in the perspective of deploying an effective Learning Management Systems (LMS).
Article
Purpose The purpose of the paper is to unravel a strategic architecture for e‐learning for a traditional university like Himachal Pradesh University (H.P. University) and provide guidelines as to how to carry the implementation of e‐learning for the university of the future. Design/methodology/approach Getting to the future first is not just about excelling competitors bent on reaching the same prize. It is also concerning having one's own view of what the prize is. There can be as many prizes as runners; imagination is the only restraining factor. The paper provides a literature review for a traditional university like H.P. University to venture into e‐learning. Findings To venture into e‐learning, H.P. University will have to reengineer itself, understand how competition will differ in the future and capture and refine insights into future opportunities. Research limitations/implications The paper has limitations that it presents a review of literature from secondary sources. Practical implications The paper provides guidelines as to how to implement e‐learning which will be beneficial for both the staff and the students. Originality/value The paper advocates the concept of strategic thinking in the education sector for implementing e‐learning.