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Systemic Factors for Integrating Technology in the University Learning Environment: Factoring the Rise of Ubiquitous Technologies.

Nair, Uday (2017) Systemic Factors for Integrating Technology in the University Learning Environment: Factoring the Rise of Ubiquitous Technologies. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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At the beginning of the 21st century, the field of IS, integrated circuits, computers, internet have seen the impact of technological advancement. And these advancements have revolutionised the learning delivery mechanism via online learning. Since then the internet has been able to penetrate our lives through a wide variety of ubiquitous technologies (UT) like hand held devices, social media platforms, software’s that are able to create/share contents in multi-modal formats. These UT have enabled users to become creators of contents that could be easily shared and corroborated. UT has empowered us to perform manual day-to-day activities through the click of a button online thereby highlighting the level of penetration into our lives. Online learning is composed of different forms of ICTs that allows its users to develop learning constructs, gather information, disseminate knowledge and all of this has been possible because of the technological advancements that started decades ago. Online learning is conducted at the Universities with the help of a learning management system (LMS) commonly known as the virtual learning environment (VLE) and it is used by all the UK based Universities in some shape or form. The Higher Education (HE) Industry is facing a difficult time due to changing parameters like Government regulations, intense competition, demand from students for more contact hours, increase in Tuition fees to name a few. At times like these, Universities are looking to develop online learning environment that would provide learners with more accessibility, usability and a level of personalization. But even then the currently used LMS is used as data repository and among the users of the LMS there are reduced adoption rates. This is attributed to different reasons, but the point is there are different users of the LE, and each of these users will have their own reasons. This creates a level of complexity, which already exists within the LE, making it even messier. There is no straight answer to the questions raised about technology and education. Even then such an environment needs to be studied because Universities are not only the place where learning takes place but it is also the establishment that develops the competency of learners to make them problem solvers and next generation leaders. Arguably technology has the ability to do just that, technology has the ability to adapt itself to varying needs and requirements of the users to create what is called as a Personalized Learning Environment (PLE) but in order to do that it is essential to a) evaluate the existing learning environment the ‘As Is’, b) know the underlying principles of the design of the learning systems, i.e. knowing the thought process of how LMS are developed and what is the rationale for its development c) identifying different stakeholders of the learning environment and getting to know their perceptions about how the learning environment could be transformed using UT and at the same rate as the technological advancements happening around them d) within the current learning environment users come from different walks of lives and from all around the world, if technology is not implemented well then it could broaden the divide that exist among its users, and finally e) if any technology is to be integrated into the learning environment different factors have to considered, what those factors are, should be clearly defined along with the various processes taking place and how each of these processes are systemically inter-related. The literature for this research is drawn out through the PRETSeLS framework that looks at the theoretical analysis of the current eLearning practices at the University and what role could the UT play within the LE taking into consideration the different stakeholders who do play a role and should play a role when it comes to considering the factors of design and develop the LE. The research design strategy proposed is qualitative in nature supported by the research method in-depth interviews. The interviewees of this research are the students (UG/PG), lecturers, senior management (department level), L&T services (faculty level) and learning technologist (department and Central). Each of these interviews was fed into NVIVO to carry out thematic analysis to derive the different nodes that would lead to the 25 factors that should be considered for the design and development of the learning environment. With the help of PRETSeLS framework (contribution 1) and the 25 factors (contribution 2) drawn out of data analysis led to the formation of SFIT (Systemic Factors for Integrating Technology) model (contribution 3) for University LE which has the ability to enable the practitioners to find out the disparity between what is implemented and what is expected from the LE (contribution 4), ways to engage stakeholders in the LE using a Stakeholder Engagement Matrix (contribution 5), such that it allows practitioners to identify the different factors that should be considered for the transcendence of technological innovations to happen throughout the University learning environment under the guidance of a valid and a systemically thought-out process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: ‘eLearning’, ‘Learning Technology’, ‘Ubiquitous Technologies’, ‘Learning Environment’, ‘Design and Development’, ‘Web 2.0’, ‘Digital Divide’, ‘Digital Literacy’, ‘Systems thinking’, ‘Personalized Learning Environment’ , ‘Stakeholder Engagement’, ‘Learning and Teaching’, ‘ Learning Management Systems’, ‘Virtual Learning Environment’,’ Technology Enabled Leaning’.
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Management School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr. Uday Nair
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2017 12:54
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 12:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17569

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