Given what know (see the below) about the importance of people to the implementation of information systems and also to learning and teaching, how would you characterise the involvement of uses in the selection and implementation of an LMS at most universities? What impact does it have?

The importance of people

There has been significant research within the information systems discipline – a small subset includes user participation and involvement (Ives and Olson 1984); technology acceptance and use (Davis 1989; Venkatesh, Morris et al. 2003); decision-making around system selection and implementation (Bannister and Remenyi 1999; Jamieson, Hyland et al. 2007); system success (DeLone and McLean 1992; Myers 1994); development methods (Mumford 1981); and, the social shaping of technology (Kling 2000)- around the importance and impact of people on information systems and their success. In terms of user participation and involvement, Lynch and Gregor (2004) found that previous studies were inconclusive in terms of links with system success, however, they suggest that the level of influence users have on the development process is a better indicator of system outcomes. The perceptions of the people who may potentially use an information and communication technology play a significant role in their adoption and use of that technology (Jones, Cranston et al. 2005). Information systems are designed and used by people operating in complex social contexts, consequently such a system is understood differently by different people and given meaning by the shared understanding that arises out of social interaction (Doolin 1998).

Similar findings and suggestions are evident in the educational and e-learning literature. John and La Velle (2004) argue that new technologies at most enable rather than dictate change. Dodds (2007) suggests that any excellence demonstrated by a University is not a product of technology, it is a product of the faculty, students and staff who play differing roles in the pursuit of scholarship and learning. For Morgan (2003), teaching and learning are two of the most highly personalised processes. Numerous authors (e.g. Alexander 2001; Oblinger 2003) identify understanding learners, and particularly their learning styles, attitudes, and approaches as essential to the effective facilitation of learning. For Watson (2006), it is clear that consideration of the human dimension is critical to education. Since, as Stewart (2008) observes, the beliefs held by those involved in the educational process, regardless of how ill-informed, can have a tremendous impact on the performance of both students and teachers and how effectively technology may be utilised. Personal characteristics have been found to influence e-learning implementation (Siritongthaworn, Krairit et al. 2006) and most universities are still struggling to engage a significant percentage of students and staff in e-learning (Salmon 2005). While technology may be the stimulus, the essential matters are complex and will be the purview of academics (Oblinger, Barone et al. 2001).


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