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Barriers to Implementing E-learning System in Organizations

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1.0 General introduction/background

This chapter deals with general introduction and the background of the research area. It also contains the problem statement, objectives/purpose, research question, and the structure of the thesis.

In today's world of globalization, knowledge and learning is considered most vital element for acquiring competitive advantage (Longworth and Davies, 1996). For gaining competitive advantage firms and institutions are becoming more knowledge intensive, therefore they concentrate on managing and sharing knowledge to gain significant advantage of this knowledge (Hertog and Sluijs, 1995).Traditional education style has remained consistent without any changes been made to the system. This has enabled a large number of creative thinkers to ponder other possible educational approaches that could benefit the system (Günes, 2008). On the other hand, technology is necessary in order to conquer, but it also a necessity to remain in competition. All the sectors, whether it is primary, manufacturing or tertiary, all of them have been forced to accept technology to become innovative and efficient (Günes, 2008).

Technology has not only radically changed the ways and methods of our works but is now beginning to transform the education system (Webster and Murphy, 2008).With the use of internet technologies, firms and institutions have outstanding opportunities to deliver education and different training techniques through strategic use of internet technologies (Lee, 2006; Kaohsiung; Taiwan, 2006). The use of Internet technologies combined with suitable learning strategies assists to provide an open, flexible and dynamic learning environment. As a result many corporations, government agencies and academic institutions worldwide have increased the use of internet and educational technologies to deliver instructions and provide training. This innovative approach of delivering information and education is known as E-learning (Khan, 2008). E-learning can be simply defined as the way of learning which delivers its contents through World Wide Web (Gulatee and Combes, 2007). Sharifabadi defined e-learning as “the term used to describe teaching and learning resources or experiences that is, in some way, delivered electronically”. (Gulatee and Combes, 2007; Sharifabadi, 2006, p.391).

E-learning is a way of interaction through electronic mediums, mainly computers, by using videos, photos, texts and sounds for different educational purposes (Gulatee and Combes, 2007). E-learning system creates a learning opportunity for the convenience of those who don't have the opportunity to be physically available due to various reasons (Gulatee and Combes, 2007; Werry, 2002). Hence, during the late 1990s and early 2000 many virtual universities were established and more universities were offering online courses, but mixed results of the e learning systems were encountered (Gulatee and Combes, 2007). Different researches have pointed out many barriers in e learning's implementation, which lead to its failure. For example technological infrastructure, course content quality, finance support, learner's computing skills, staff training, management support and organization's culture resistance (Romiszowski, 2003, Childs et al, 2005, Muilenburg and Berge, 2005).

Organization's cultural resistance is considered as the most influential barrier in e learning's implementation process. The culture's resistance or resistance from the potential users negatively affects the implementation process. Unwillingness of the employees can create major problems for the managers and can lead to the system failure (Shields and Young, 1989, p. 22). Employee's resistance and avoiding of the use of required procedures and rules could lead the system to failure even if it has been developed perfectly and is ready to use (Malmi, 1997, p. 475). In this instant the managers cannot gain full benefits of the new system unless they can create a change in the employee's attitude (Yates, 1997, p. 164). Cultural differences among peers could create many problems in implementation of e learning system. Therefore, if the cultural issues are overlooked during implementation, their ignorance could act as a vital barrier in e learning's success. (AL-Hunaiyyan et al, 2008; Gujar and Sonone, 2004)

1.1 Problem statement

There are different articles and books available in the market which mention about the usefulness and advantages of E learning. Web-based learning is a new medium of information technology; researchers have mentioned many different factors which act as barriers towards implementing E-learning system (Ngai et al., 2007). There are different factors cited by various authors which exist in their research papers that can help us to identify critical barriers. In addition, we are interested in finding out, to which extent an organization is dependent on the role of its culture, and how culture can lead to success or failure of the E-learning system. It should be noted that culture has a great impact in organizations and are important when decision making is involved in IT management. In this regard, an organization is said to be confronted with stiff resistance, consequently making IT management a difficult task (Childs et al, 2005). To overcome the barriers for implementing E learning, an organization should try and manage these barriers accordingly because they are critical to any organization's general business model and can equally affect the organization's decision making process.

1.2 Research question

What are the critical barriers of implementing e-learning system and what is the role of organizational culture in successful implementation of E-learning system?

1.3 Objectives and Purpose of the Research

The purpose of this research is to describe and analyze the critical factors which may affect the implementation of e-learning system. Investigating the barriers of implementing e-learning system would help to lower down the barriers in future implementation. Moreover by examining the cultural influence of an organization towards e-learning system's implementation process, it will be easier to identify a complete outline for organizations to implement E Learning system and to make the system work efficiently and successfully.

1.4 Thesis design

The structure of the thesis is principally focused on six chapters which include

Chapter 1: Introduction/Background

The Introduction gives brief overview of the research topic, including the purpose and objectives, problems and research question.

Chapter 2: Research Design/Methods

This chapter deals with the choice of topic, research process which indicates how these data's will be analyzed, data collection, validity and reliability, and method critique.

Chapter 3: Framework of reference

This chapter discusses relevant theories to give the reader an understanding of the barriers which come across E learning system's implementation processes cited by different authors.

Chapter 4: Findings

This chapter provides frequencies of different barriers for implementing E learning system described by different authors.

Chapter 5 Analysis

This chapter will describe the analysis based on the findings.

Chapter 6: Conclusions

This section finally concludes the lessons drawn from the findings

2.0 Research Design/Methods

This chapter deals with the choice of topic, research process which indicates how these data's will be analyzed, data collection, validity and reliability, and method critique.

2.1 Choice of Topic

Fisher (2007, p.31-33) suggested that authors should choose research area according to their interests, so they remain motivated and committed to complete the project. The authors belong to Pakistan, where E-learning system is not much in practiced in organizations. While, e learning system is already in use in Sweden, we found that E-learning system is a proficient tool in learning process. Therefore, it was quite intriguing for us to explore this topic. In addition, we were interested in finding out the barriers for implementation of E-learning system and to investigate the role of organization's culture for successful implementation of E-learning system. Fisher (2007, p.31-33) urges that chosen topic should be accessible and it is necessary to make sure that quite literature is available for making detail analysis. We are certain that our topic is enough interesting, significant and demanding for all researchers, businesses managers and Information Technology Management students.

2.2 Research Process

There are various methodological approaches to carry out research i.e. Realist research, exploratory research, critical realism, standpoint research, action research and phenomenology etc, Fisher (2007, p.15). In addition, Fisher (2007, p.153-155) mentioned two kinds of discoveries e.g. Explorers and Surveyors. A kind of research where an open approach is used with conceptual framework but the authors are not sure about outcomes and results of the work they do, is called exploratory research. On the other hand surveyors' discovery approach is pre-structured where surveyors are already inform of the results and out come of their work. According to these concepts our research is exploratory as we are dependent on secondary data.

2.3 Data Collection and source

Fisher (2007, p. 45) states that data could be collected from existing databases, through questionnaires, conducting fieldwork or performing case studies as it depends on the kind of research. In this research entire data has been collected from available databases as the research is entirely based on secondary data collection method. Secondary source has been used in this research. The data was extracted from articles, books and websites, magazines, journals and articles with focus on critical barriers to e learning implementation.

Fisher stated that (2007, P.158-161) data could be qualitative or quantitative depending on the method of research study. A quantitative approach has been used here in this research. No statistics has been used in this research and as all research has been analyzed by words not figures.

2.4 Access of information

Secondary data has extracted from different sources. The required literature has been acquired by searching Mälardalen University's library. Furthermore, we have used online library (ebrary) as well as other library's database such as Elin, Emerald, Eric and EBSCO for articles and journals, which have helped us to answer our research query. Going through a wide-ranging literature review, twenty five articles were identified that give answer to the research question from distinct angles. To identify the barriers to Implementation of E-learning system, keyword search criteria based on title contained;

Ø Barriers of E learning system implementation,

Ø Implications of E learning system in organizations,

Ø Implementation of E learning system in large organization,

Ø Challenges of E learning Implementation,

Ø Limitations of E learning System,

To describe and analyze the role of organization's culture for successful implementation of E-learning system in organization, keyword search criteria contained;

Ø Cultural issues of E leaning system,

Ø Cultural Influence on online Learning,

Ø Cultural influence on student learning,

Ø Analyzing cultural Influences on E learning Transactional Issue,

Ø Cultural difference and influence on E learning,

Ø Social and cultural impact on e learning Effectiveness,

Ø A cultural Analysis of relearning for developed and developing countries,

Ø Cross and Multicultural issues for e learning success,

Ø Influence of organizational cultural in E learning,

Ø Organizational resistance towards implementing E learning system.

2.5 Data Analysis

According to Miles and Huberman (1994) the data analysis consists of three parallel flows of activity: (1) Data reduction, (2) Data display, and (3) Conclusion drawing/verification” (p. 10). Furthermore they suggested that data analysis components could be successfully integrated during data analysis, as it is an iterative and continuous process (Miles and Huberman 1994). They have stated three components of activities that describe analysis which are; First is ‘'data reduction'' that is focused on selection, simplification and transformation of data (Miles and Huberman 1994). This process is applied in qualitative data. The objective of this is data is to help drawing final conclusion and verification.

In this study data is taken from the studies where authors cited barriers to implement E-learning with focus on cultural resistance in an organization. Second is ‘'data display'' i.e. data reduced in data reduction needs to be organized that help to draw conclusion easily. In table mentioned below, different factors related to critical barriers to implementation of E-learning system and the role of organization's culture is given below along with the frequency of each factor. Third is the conclusion based on drawing/verifying; describes the possible explanations, causal flows and propositions to be made. Therefore based on the findings and discussed analysis, conclusions would be drawn to signify the influential role of organization's culture towards the implementation process

The above model is used for the analysis of this research. Moreover, this analysis emphasizes more on comparing various authors' view on to analyze and describe the critical barriers and role of culture to employ E-learning system in organizations.

2.6 Validity and Reliability

Validity is defined as “the degree which researchers have measured what they have set out to measure” (Kumar, 2005) whereas reliability means “the extent to which another researcher can reach the same conclusion by following the same research process” (Taylor et al., 2006).

Several articles have been used to identify the barriers of implementing E learning system and to analyze the role of organizational culture. Besides, frequencies of more influential barriers have been generated to validate the barriers and cultural role in implementation process.

2.7 Method Critique

Due to the limitation of time, a limited number of articles have been used to formulate the frequency to identify the critical barriers. It could be better to use more articles to strengthen our research as a number of studies have already been done in this area. However this study will describe and analyze the critical barriers for the implementation of E-learning system related literature and to gain a theoretical background. It was also discovered during analysis of this study that most of the authors mentioned the critical factors with mere repetition with diverse definitions.

3.0 Framework of Reference

This chapter discusses relevant theories to give the reader an understanding of the barriers which come across E-learning system's implementation processes cited by different authors.

3.1 E-learning

3.1.1 What is E-learning?

E-learning can be defined as learning and communication exercises across computers and networks or electronic sources. (Wong, 2007 ; Schank, 2002; Roffe, 2002 & Tsai & Machado, 2002; Sambrook, 2003; Fry; Wild, Grggs and Downing, 2002) have defined E-learning as “delivery of training and education via networked interactivity and distribution technologies.”According to Khan (2008), the word e-learning is used for an open, flexible, and diversed-learning environment. “E-learning can be viewed as an innovative approach for delivering well designed, learner-centered, interactive, and facilitated learning environment to anyone, anyplace, anytime by utilizing the attributes and resources of various digital technologies along with other forms of learning materials suited for open, flexible, and distributed learning environment” (Khan, 2008).

In e-learning system Students are able to interact anytime from anywhere with different instructional material (text, sound, pictures, video and so on) through Internet. Furthermore, learners can even communicate with teachers and classmates both individually and as a group discussion with the use of message boards, instant message exchanges and video conferencing. (Al-Ammari and Hamad (2008); Andersson, 2009; Zhang and Zhou, 2003). (Lee, 2006) Therefore, E-learning has been defined variously, learning system using different carrying technologies and techniques like Computer Based Training (CBT), Internet-based training (IBT), Web-based instruction (WBI), distributed learning (DL), advanced distributed learning (ADL), distance learning, online learning (OL), mobile learning (or m-learning) or remote learning and learning management systems (LMS) (Khan, 2008).

For managing learning environment like, registration of learners, scheduling learning resources, controlling and guidance of learning processes and analyzing learner's performance are all accomplish in Learning Management System (LMS) (Gulatee and Combes, 2007; Brown, 2006).

In 1970s and 1980s distance learning started becoming popular and sued to conduct through postal mail but in 1990s the rise of World Wide Web changed the nature distance learning. With the use of this technology learners can get a number of resources from their teachers like discussion forums, multimedia, chat, video conferencing and electronic black boards.

These changes which have been brought in distance education are an attempt to provide easier access to students who live very far from universities, who are working or have other reasons for not being able to attend in person. In the US ‘in the academic year 2001-2, five million people took at least one course online, and three million were enrolled in online degree programs (Gulatee and Combes, 2007; Kazmer & Haythornthwaite, 2005, p.7). It can be seen in these figures that distance education online has become a popular alternative to face-to-face instruction.

3.2 Implementation of E-learning

One of the following three approaches is necessary for the implementation of the e-learning system: To strengthen the traditional face-to-face courses with support of new communication technology, enhancement of learning experience with in traditional courses by integration of online activities and delivery of entirely online courses. In this implementation the readiness of some influential factors like budgeting, infrastructure planning, human resource development (experience, skills, knowledge and attitude of the end users) are most common.

Uhomoibhi (2006) stated that E-learning initiators, institutions must use and prepare strategies for adoption, diffusion and implementation. For a successful implementation of online environment where learners can actively learn and get support from well-organized approach is mandatory. Processes of planning, designing, development and evaluation are all parts of a successful implementation that could help to lower down the barriers of implementation. An e-learning system can only be successful if it is significant to all stakeholders e.g. instructors, learners; support services staff and the institutions itself.

In order for learners to become quickly accustomed to E-learning, it must be made sure that it is easily accessible, efficient, well designed course, affordable, and has a facilitated learning environment. Instructors must feel a sense of accomplishment when learners meet the goals and objectives of the course in a successful way. Technical support staff should feel happy when learners receive reliable services without interruptions. One of the most important factors for institutions is the profit they earn as well as the satisfaction of the learner and a low rate of dropouts (Khan, 2005).

A strong foundation is required in order to have an effective implementation of E learning. Aligning and communication are two important factors in implementation of e learning system. It is necessary to make sure the communication is in order. Involvement of key stakeholders at the decision making stage or any other early process is very important. Communication is also important for those who are directly responsible for the implementation; and professionals also suggest a horizontal leadership style so that everyone is responsible for their actions. This includes individuals who are critical to the implementation's success which include line, functional and divisional leaders. There should be consistent scheduled meetings with these individuals to discuss the newly arising issues in the project to come up with a solution. Most of the pitfalls of e-learning are tied to technological issues so it is important to involve IT leadership throughout the project to mitigate the problems in implementation process. Creation of helpdesk for reporting of IT related issues is more important. While selecting the vendors it is important to make sure that the vendors have an outstanding and proven record. Strong communication and feedback from vendors is a necessary step for a successful implementation.

3.3 An overview of the critical issues in E-learning implementation

Worldwide, E-learning arises as a new paradigm of advance education with a growing rate of 36.5% in the market, but still failures exist. As many companies are moving very fast to the adoption of e-learning in order to reap its benefits but they are facing significant barriers in its implementation and adoption, which leads them to implementation failure.

(http://www.citeulike.org/user/jdellano/article/5315881) (Simmons, 2002, p.19). (Mungania, 2003)

Hence, to mitigate this failure we have to investigate key factors that encompass different dimensions of an open, flexible and advanced distributed learning environment for diverse learners (Khan, 2005). Literature has mentioned a wide range of factors that can influence the successful implementation of e-learning e.g. some talks about pedagogical issues, faculty issues and organizational issues while some may have discussed about personal issues, cultural issues and some other issues. A broad range of factors that can influence the success of e-learning environments has been mentioned in the literature. However, there is no organized work to characterize collective group of most influential issues or factors, which could be seen as barriers. (Successful wala article)

Distinct authors consider different barriers as most influential in implementation of e-learning.Wong (2007) has categorized e-learning limitations in three main areas; technological limitations, personal issues and other limitations. The lack of hardware, limited Internet coverage and low bandwidth are all consider as technological barriers in implementation of e learning. (Wong, 2007 ; Kathawala, Abdou, Elmulti, 2002; Hiltz, 1997).

(Chadha & Kumail, 2002, p.28).Roy (1996, p.9) // where u use this reference

Personal issues are mostly related to learners and teachers. Teachers should give a complete guidance to the learners about this new and non-traditional system to prepare new learners psychologically (Wong, 2007 ; Kember et al., 2001; Dearnley, 2003). For learners the use of new technologies could be a disadvantage or barrier in e learning. So the lack information, communication and technological skills might be barriers to e- learning because learners could get frustrated from this unconventional learning environment.(Wong, 2007 ; Carr, 1999; Hamid, 2002; Angelina, 2002a, p.12)

The freedom provided by E-learning could be a disadvantage for the learners as internal motivation and self discipline is required at its maximum which learners may find hard to achieve in order to complete their studies or assignments in time. As (Wong, 2007 ; Kearsley, 2000) Schott et al., 2003; Rivera and Rice, 2002; Abouchedid and Eid, 2004).

In e-learning environment students are usually supposed to communicate in a text based environment so learners' poor writing ¨skills might be a disadvantage in e learning. Therefore, the inability of communicating efficiently of learners could create misunderstandings (Wong, 2007; Smith & Rupp, 2004). Others limitations: e-learning provides 24\7 access. This infinite work might be a disadvantage for learners and particularly for teachers. This unlimited work could over stress teachers, resulting in a low quality services from instructors.(Abdou & Elmulti, 2002;. Dringus, 2003; Newton, 2003; Kathawala, Schifter, 2004).

Poor course design could appear a major barrier in implementation of e learning as it could frustrate the learners and teachers. (Young & Bal, 2003; Smulders, 2003; Howell, Williams & Lindsay 2003; Gordon, Young & Bal, 2003; Svensson, 2004; Ivergard & Hunt, 2005;). Cronje (2009) sees some influential barriers such as student barriers are related to lack of financial support from their families and cooperation among peers and from teachers (Cronje, 2009; Galusha, 1997). Faculty barriers the lack of funds is the most important one. Institute's attitude towards the lecturers that some time seems less prominent among their peers is considered another important barrier in successful e learning (Cronje, 2009; Galusha, 1997). Organizational barriers poor funding for three major costs areas are considered more crucial barriers e.g. Initial costs of the implementation process, maintenance and up gradation.

Course barriers course design is regarded as most important one. Poor course design is one of reasons of inferiority of Distance learning. Conversion of teaching context in to electronic shape could not add any value to e learning (Cronje, 2009; Galusha, 1997)

Boondao et al (2008) mentioned, “It is not possible, in the view of some scholars, to create a model of the good teacher without taking issues of culture and context into account”.

The influence of culture cannot be ignored in successful implementation of e learning. Considering learners from different culture e.g. east and west, learners from both cultures have particular approaches and styles of learning. Therefore, lack of consideration of cultural issues during designing could prove as a barrier in successful implementation of e learning (Boondao et al, 2008).

3.4 Discussing the different critical barriers

3.4.1 A Framework for E-Learning

These days an escalating amount of companies are implementing E-learning System (Mungania, 2003).. But as these companies try to take advantages of E-learning to gain strategic and competitive advantages in absolute urgency, there are significant number barriers to the implementation of E-learning come across to halt them (Simmons, 2002, p.19 and Mungania, (2003). As E-learning barriers are diverse and may include as personal, organizational, situational, instructional, and technological barriers. (Mungania, 2003) Moreover khan's E- learning framework provides details on critical issues which may come cross E learning implementation process. Khan's E-learning framework composed of eight dimensions: institutional, management, technological, pedagogical, ethical, interface design, resource support, and evaluation.

3.1 Institutional Issues

Institutions need to build a complete plan for the successful implantation of E learning system (Khan 2005, p.23).Moreover Childs et al (2005) stated that institution should focus on cultural aspects for the implementation process of E learning system which have a significant effect upon the success of E learning process (Cronje,2009). E-learning needs to be integrated to all departments of the institution therefore a strong comment needed from the institution and the trainers Childs et al (2005). Moreover, E-learning implementation plan must be fully aligned with the institutions' missions and strategic plans (Galusha , 1997; Belanger and Jordan, 2000). Therefore e-learning implementation process is paradigm shift for the institution as a whole which includes learners, instructors, administrators, technical and other support services staff (Romiszowski, 2004).

To support institutions in strategic planning, change management and process development that are necessary to highlight their embedding process and issues which may occur in their organization (Childs et al (2005) and Khan 2005,p.23). Khan has divided institution issue into three parts administrative affairs, Academic affairs and Student services (Khan 2005,p. 24 ). Administrative affairs which includes organization and change (implementation of E learning system), budgeting and ROI , course information catalog, financial aid, course schedule, tuition and fees, registration and payment, information technology services, instructional design, whereas Academic affairs issues such as policies, instructional quality, faculty and staff support, intellectual property rights and so on (Khan 2005,p. 24 ). Moreover Student services deals with student support services for e-learning effectiveness. Some of the institutional related issues are mentioned below:

Needs Assessment

Needs analysis will assist institutions to examine the needs for their e-learning plan and establish its e-learning goals. (Khan 2005,p. 24 , Sue Childs et al.2005)

Readiness Assessment

Readiness Assessment critical factors should be considered are e-learning must be Open, flexible and distributed. There are three basic types of readiness: Financial Readiness which defines whether it's e-learning initiative investment importance, Infrastructural readiness readiness which includes human resource readiness, equipment readiness, and technological skill readiness and cultural which are preferences of Learners' instructors and the existing learning culture (Khan 2005, p.25).

Organizational change

E-learning engages a change of model to some level, a change in how you deal with knowledge and its information in organization (Khan 2005, p. 26 and Sue Childs et al.2005).

Budgeting and return on investment

Institutions should do costing before, during, and after the implementation of e-learning so that they are able to analyze return on investment and benefits of e Learning (Romiszowski, 2004 and Khan 2005, p.28-29).

Program and course information catalog

Institution should provide precise information about their courses, schedule and fees etc (Mungania 2003, Khan 2005, p.30).

Financial Aid

Financial aid services should be provided to support learners by using technological and human support services (Khan 2005, p.32).


Institutional e-learning policies must be communicated to all groups including instructors, learners, and support staff (Khan 2005, p. 35).

Instructional Quality

Instructional quality in e-learning creates meaningful learning environment (Khan 2005,p. 35, Muilenburg and Berge (2005), Gulatee and Combes (2007), Lum (2006), Park and Choi (2009).

Faculty and Staff support

For effective e learning instructor, faculty members as well as supporting staff should receive proper training to support the learners (Khan 2005, p.41).

Intellectual property rights

Institutions must give information to the learners, as well instructors about intellectual property rights (Khan 2005, p. 39).

Learning Skills Development

Well-designed learner's guide can help those learners, supporting staff how have no experience with open, distributed and flexible learning environment which includes Library, Tutorial Services, and Support Network (Khan 2005, p. 39); ), Wong (2007).

3.2Management issues

(Magalhaes, 2008) stated that lack of management support is number one barriers towards successful implementation of E learning system in institution. Management issues of e-learning in organization refer various phases of administration such as scheduling, design, construction, assessment, delivery, and maintenance (Romiszowski 2003 and Parkham et al, 2004). Managing E-learning system issues in organizations depend upon various elements including content delivery, and technology Trentin (2003). Khan stated that for the success of E learning system institution must focus on three key areas people, process, and products involved in e-learning projects which depends upon integrated team approach (Jung, 2003, khan).Critical management issues categorized by khan are mentioned below:

Project Manager's Skills

Manager skills must include planning, budgeting, supervising, scheduling, Technological and interpersonal skills (Khan 2005, p.109).

Managing content development process

Content development processes have different stages such as Design Stage, Production Stage, Evaluation Stage, Security measures (Khan 2005, p.114).

Managing e-learning environment

E-Learning delivery and maintenance should be effective and efficient for the success. Managing e-learning environment depends upon Course E-Learning delivery and maintenance which is the accessibility of the learners at anytime from anywhere in the world (Khan 2005, p.114).

Updating and Monitoring of E-Learning Environment

Keep e-learning materials updated on a regular to keep the interest of the learner basis Park and Choi (2009). Moreover management should also check if all links and resources are active (Khan 2005, p.126).

Security Measures

Security measures include access control and information privacy (Khan 2005, p.126).

3.3 Technological Issues

Technological limitations are one of the major barrier for the success of e-learning system (Wong, 2007).Technological limitations of e-learning system relates to computer hardware, software and relevant resources (Wong, 2007).Connectivity problems, Lack of training, Navigation issues, Limitations of 24/7 technical support, Loss of data and incapability to save or transfer data are the most common technological limitations (Mungania, 2003). Small and Medium Enterprises fails to implement e-learning due to lack of support in hardware and software (Sambrook, 2003;Wong, 2007).The technological issues can be divided into three parts infrastructure planning, hardware, and software (Kearsley, 2000; Rumble, 2000).

Infrastructure Planning

Success of E learming system in organizations depends upon infrastructure planning which includes a well documented strategy focusing on that focuses on Infrastructure. (McGraw, 2001; Romiszowski, 2008).As e-learning environment depends on digital infrastructure, there for institution should have consistent and well-organized networks to support e-learning (khan 2005, p.154). Moreover Institutions should develop policies and guidelines to cater various issues for hardware, software, and networks as Institutional involved in implementation of e-learning may suffer. (Wong, 2007, Romiszowski, 2008)


Leaner's require for basic hardware for e-learning such as desktop or notebook computers and printers (Kathawala, Abdou, Elmulti, 2002;Hiltz, 1997, Wong, 2007). Therefore, one of the major technological limitations of e-learning is the availability of computer hardware (wong,2007).

Major hardware limitations of e-learning system is the necessity of relevant resources which includes servers, modems, microphone, wireless devices, printers, scanners, computer, networking devices, cameras storage devices other equipments. (Wong, 2007, Khan 2005, p.159)


Institution have similar problems are experienced software as costs as well as software support cost, particularly for software licenses which acts a significant barrier (khan 2005, p.159). Software includes word processors, databases ,e-mail, , presentation programs, , reader software, browsers and plug-ins, spreadsheets, learning management systems (LMS), authoring tools and enterprise software and so on (Lytas&Pauloudi,2001 and Khan 2005, p.159-160)

3.4 Pedagogical Issues

Success of E learning system implementation depends on the adherence to underly pedagogical principles that are embedded in the e-learning (Uhomoibhi, 2006). Pedagogical issues in Learning is major challenge in distance education therefore is a strong need of resources for development of the course material, e.g. IT-staff with pedagogical education (Andersson,2008). Ertmer (2005) argued that teacher pedagogical attitude about the value and role of technology will determine learner's attitudes towards using technology (Hrastinski, 2007).The pedagogical dimension of e-learning encompasses a large set of issues relating to teaching and learning which are mentioned below

Content Analysis

Content represents the theme to which a course is dedicated. Content that helps in learning should be changed along with the time because it will be annoying for learners if they get old-fashioned or outdated information Partow-Navid and Slusky (2009). Hence, it is imperative to mention all the vigorous and steady contents. Content and task analysis are significant in designing learning systems since selection of design strategy, content classification, techniques and plans for learning environment are based on those analysis (Merrienboer, 1997and Khan 2005, 182).

Audience analysis

In view of the fact that e-learning can, hypothetically, be brought up to any one, any time, and any place, learners may come from miscellaneous cultural background and they may be at variance in how they learn. (Mungania (2003). Knowledge about learner's awareness and abilities, individual and common traits, abilities, ideal learning approaches, requirements, Communication skills, Experience and Learners' interest are significant essentials of audience analysis.(Kemp, Morrison and Ross, 1994,Willis (1992 Khan 2005,183)

Goal analysis

Analysis of goals assists in recognizing and simplifying the plans of an e-learning project in the most cost-effective and significant way Packham et al (2004). Identifying goals can influence the way content is selected and put together in a particular course (Khan 2005, p.185). In e-learning, it is imperative for learners to have apparent goals and aims, and also rational ways to accomplish them. Existence and simplicity of those goals and ideas is reviewed under goal analysis section (Khan 2005, p.185-186).

Medium analysis

E-learning can be conveyed all the way through different medium, comprising the Internet and other digital technologies. Additionally, media such as books and printed materials can be combined with e-learning (Khan 2005, p.186). The purpose of media analysis is to illustrate how media features and resources can smooth the process of teach (Khan 2005, p.186), so that it can be used whenever suitable. Multimedia presentation tools such as text, graphics, animation, audio, video, and so on can be used with any E-learning delivery medium to support students in achieving learning goals. (Khan 2005, p.186-187).

Design approach

The pedagogical viewpoint of the overall design of the course is subjective to whether the content is well-structured or ill-structured Galusha (1997); Boondao et al(2008). The instructive idea supports an objectivist philosophy, whereas the constructivist approaches focus the primacy of the learners' objectives, understandings, and conceptual strategies. (Reeves & Reeves, 1997and (Khan 2005, p.186-187).

Instructional Strategies

Instructional strategies which includes tutorials, demonstrations, simulations and presentation which is different online presentation modes such as text, graphics, photographs, audio clips, video clips, animations, PowerPoint slides, and video-conferencing etc can be used to create e-learning presentation Partow-Navid and Slusky (2009). Discussion forums help participants practice different viewpoints on concerns that persuade them to examine and understand substitute ways of thinking (Khan 2005, p.190-195).

3.5 Interface design Issue

In E-Learning system interface design concerns with course site and portal which includes discussion posts, facilitating discussions online, submitting assignments. User interface design can be challenging to the learner if it has unconventional interactive controls which may cause frustrations (Farquhar, 1997). Easton, 2003; Palloff & Pratt, 1999). Gunawardena, 1994). Flexible, easy designed interface without sophisticated and advanced functions may catch students' interest and will ultimately cause effective learning process (khan , (Brown, Milner & Ford, 2001)(Brown, Milner & Ford, 2001). According to ezin usability and interface design of an e-learning course reflects the success of the E- learning system as badly designed user interface frustrates the leaner and untimely leaners opt for conventional classroom based approach to learning (Khan 2005, p.325).

Page and Site Design

E-learning relates to the appearance and functionality which is easy to navigate, easily accessible, and usable by all users, including people with disabilities and senior citizens (Khan 2005, p.327).

Content Design

Content quality and design is one of the key determinants of Web usability (Nielsen, 2000).

Nielsen suggested that by keeping text to the point, writing conventions such as grammar, capitalization, punctuation, usage, spelling, paragraphing must be suitable for the reading level of target audience. Multimedia components such as audio, video, etc., Should be clear, and direct to focus on learner (Morrison, Ross, 1995; Khan 2005, p.327 ; Wong (2007), Boondao et al(2008), Partow-Navid and Slusky (2009)).


E learning system designers should focus on the learners as they can easily navigate with reasonable speed Romiszowski (2003), Usually learner's loose motivation due to the lack of clarity and consistency throughout the portal (Simich-Dudgeon, 1998; Khan 2005, p.328).


In designing e-learning sites, one should be aware of different barriers that make e-learning system not accessible to the learners Romiszowski (2003). These barriers may be caused by technical problems which includes bandwidth which acts as an accessibility barrier, learners may do not have high speed Internet connection. Therefore, e-learning courses must be bandwidth efficient for all learners (Khan 2005, p.329).

3.6 Resource Support Issues

Successful implementation of E learning environment requires recourse support as the learner belongs to different ethnic groups (Hill, 1997, Boondao et al,2008). Lack of support in e learning is one of the problems in small and large organization which causes the failure of e learning system (Galusha, 1997) Resource support issues which are encountered by learners can be divided into two parts instructional support and technical support (Fultcher & Lock, 1999) (Galusha, 1997; khan 2005, p.352). Institution needs to provide 24/7 technical support for those experiencing problems Mungania,2003 , Online Support includes both instructional and counseling support from the instructor, whereas technical support is for troubleshooting technical problems such as network failure, database crashing, and incompatibility of software versions etc.

Instructional and Counseling Support

Learners who are new to E learning environment have a higher degree of anxiety (Moore & Kearsley, 1996); therefore, Institutions must clearly learners about what support is available online and off-line from instructors, faculty, and support staff. Moreover learner should be well informed about the requirements of the course such as assigned readings, online discussions, individual/group projects, and other assignments so that they can succeed (Romiszowski (2003):Khan 2005, p.353).

Technical Support

Online technical support is one of the most critical factors for the success of e-learning as Technical problems that learners cannot easily fix can frustrate learners Mungania (2003). Therefore assisting learners during disaster times in easiest and fastest way. Technical support services such as, upload and download files, database crashing, troubleshooting, network failure, and so on (Khan 2005, p.353).

Online and Offline Resources

Resources should according to learners need for specific course. Learners should have some guidelines on how to assess quality information available online and offline whereas irrelevant resources may frustrates the learner Mungania (2003),. Online resources can includes e-books, computer tutorials, journals and offline resources can include books, newsletters , magazines, documents, reference works, Journals and etc(Khan 2005, p.355).

3.7 Evaluation Issues

Eaton (Baker, 2003) and Wong 2008 point's outs that by evaluating one can find the effectiveness of E learning system. (Tunisia and France, 2009) has divided the evaluation into two classes Learner knowledge level evaluation and Tutor evaluation moreover he focused on Learner satisfaction level evaluation which is at the end of the course leaner can formula its satisfaction level .Evaluation issues of e-learning should cater how well courses are taught and supported by institutional. To explore theses issues khan as formulate different strategies (Khan 2005, p.379).

Evaluation of e-learning content development

This includes planning, design, production, and evaluation of e-learning contents (Khan 2005, p.380).

Evaluation of e-learning environment

This includes instructor and other support from Staff including, tutor, technical support person, librarian, course development, delivery and Maintenance, Instructional Team, Learner Support Services and Evaluation of Administrative Support (Khan 2005, p.381).

Evaluation of E-Learning at theProgram and Institutional Levels

Evaluation criteria of an institution should analyze all aspects of e-learning

Together with: course development and delivery, learning environment, and support services (Khan 2005, p.385).

3.8 Ethical Issues

Ethical issues which may come across E learning system implementation are social, cultural, political , geographical diversity of the learner as well as learner diversity, legal issues, bias, integrity, equality, privacy and justice as these issues have been in traditional educational system. (Athanasou, 1998,Tucker et al., 1999, Stead and Gilbert, 2001) (Khan 2005, p.293).

3.8.1 Social and Political Influence

Social and political influence which can highly effect the implementation of Learning success (Gibson, 1998, p. 113). E learning environment which should provides social integration from which leaner's from diverse location learners can participate to work together. (Khan 2005, p.294 and Park and Choi (2009),).

3.8.2 Bias

Content developer and designer should check and eliminate any bias content material.

Articles containing any controversial issue such as cross-cultural or religious issues may frustrate the leaner as the learner may belong to any culture and religion (Khan 2005, p.297 and Lum 2006).

3.8.3 Geographical diversity

E-learning system which offers to different geographical locations in the world, when arranging Online conferences, and other collaborative activities, Institutions must consider learners locations, time zones, and holidays etc Mungania (2003), Packham et al (2004),Romiszowski (2004) and (Khan 2005, p.297).

3.8.4 Learner diversity

As e-learning system put up different learning styles and cater the needs of those with disabilities and including senior citizens Muilenburg and Berge (2005). Therefore there is a big challenge for the institution and basically to the Instructors for designing online courses that caters to various learning styles Williams and Peters (1997). An e-learning course presented around the globe should consider using examples known to their target learner which helps in better understanding (Khan 2005, p.298).

3.8.5 Etiquette

Institutions should provide guidelines for netiquette (network or Internet etiquette) especially when learners post messages on discussion forums in the course via e-mail or instant messaging. Both synchronous and asynchronous interactions should not personally attack, therefore the participants should be knowledgeable about etiquette rules, and follow them accordingly (Khan 2005, p.301).

3.8.6 Legal issues

Institutions should build policies for instructors, learners, administrators and support services staff for legal matters such as privacy, plagiarism, and copyright issues. Learners should never publish without permission as participants' personal views and biases which they may not want the outside world to know. Content authors, instructors and students should be familiar about copyright issues pertaining to e-learning system(Khan 2005, p.329).

3.8.7 Cultural diversity

Acceptance of E Leaning system by learners depends upon different cultural levels that is societal, personal, organizational and disciplinary co. (Sanchez & Gunawardena,

1998) stated the for the success of E learning system it should be considered that learners belong to different parts of the world with different social, cultural, economic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds(khan2005,p.295). In a global learning environment, designers, and developers must consider cultural sensitivities although designing and development of E learning system is challenging task. (Collis & Remmers, 1997; Rice, Coleman, Shrader, Hall, Gibb & McBride, 2001). Moreover (Boondao et al,2008)formulated few principles to encounter cultural issues when designing, developing and implementing E learning system differences mentioned below (Khan 2005, p.295). Educational value differences.

Instructors and course designers must analyze online course materials for international students as it is observed that eastern learners are more serious to western learners and they expect precise answer from their instructors (Boondao et al,2008). ‚ā¨¬†Educational cultural background differences.

As eastern learners less likely discuss their opinions in class there for activities for communication to encourage participation must be considered (Boondao et al,2008). Cultural communication differences.

Western learners prefer to openly discuss disagreements in class whereas eastern learners are more respectful to their instructors which might cause problems in discussion forums (Boondao et al, 2008). Different language usages.

Language is directly associated to culture and in e-learning system learners belongs to different cultural backgrounds. Using slang or local idioms may cause confusion to other learners (Boondao et al, 2008). Learning style preferences.

Eastern Learners and western learners have different learning style preferences; therefore instructors should provide different style of course material which will fulfill individual learning style preferences (Boondao et al, 2008).

3.5 Summarized table of critical success factors and authors

The below mentioned illustrates a summary of the different critical barriers to E-Learning implementation success which are proposed by authors.

Title and Authors

Critical barriers for E-Leaning implementation

“The Seven E-learning Barriers Facing Employees.” (Mungania, 2003)

This study determined seven critical barriers faced by the employee in an organization which are institutional issues such as (Instructor Skills as well as learners skill development), Management Support issue, Pedagogical resistance (Course Contents and it analysis), ethical issues (Culture Resistance, Legal issues, personal issue), technological infrastructure and situational issue.

“Who killed E Learning?” (Cronje, 2009)

Author discussed about four barriers which are institutional issues (student skills, faculty skills, organization change) and Pedagogical Resistance (course content). Student barriers which include financial support, computer self efficiency and support from institution and instructor. Institutional barriers include staff and instructor training. Organizational barriers are budgeting cost, maintains cost and upgrading cost. Course barrier refer to content quality and overall content design.

“E-learning and retention: key factors influencing student withdrawal”.

(Packham et al, 2004)

This study examines the causes for student withdrawal from E-learning system. Author has categorized the barriers into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are learner self efficiency Pedagogical Resistance which includes (quality of course related material) and technological issues related to (Hardware, software), whereas extrinsic factors are Institutional Issues such as (working situation, location, academic profile of the learner).

“Enhancing learning through technology: challenges and responses”.

(Webster and Murphy, 2008)

In this article author mention about several challenges which can lower down with the help of institutional policy and process. Cultural resistance such has Socio-political challenges, lack of motivation and technological changes as well as infrastructure and software challenge can be lower down by strategic planning and documentation.

“Technological barriers to successful e-learning in computer science”.

(Gulatee, Y., and Combes, B., 2007).

In this article author identify the Institutional as well technological barriers such as (infrastructure planning, hardware and software issues) that could be effective teaching of computer science area in an online environment from the perspective of tutor and learners.

“A critical literature Review on e-learning limitations.”

(Wong, D 2007)

Author mention limitations related to e-learning like technological issue such as (hardware, fast DSL connection), issues related to individual such as lack of skills, Interface design Issues (design issues, Institutional Issues (training methods, personal issues and comparison regarding traditional learning system).

“Factors influencing adult learners' decision to drop out or persist in online learning”.

(Park and Choi, 2009)

This study indentify varies issues influencing dropout rate of the learners in online learning programming. The author has divided these issues into internal and external factors. Internal factors are Ethical issues (social and academic integration, self efficiency of the learner, instructor skills ), technological problems and lack of motivation while external factors are Institutional issues which include (scheduling conflicts, family issues, and financial issues) and Resource support issues like managerial support.

“Barriers to learning in Distance Education.”

(Galusha, 1997)

Author has described and analyzed the barriers by different categories. First area of concern such as Institutional Issue such as (financial cost, staff development ) and resource support issue provided to students or employees which is a major factor for dropout rate. Second area is the tack of feedback from teachers (sheets 1992: Galusha, 1997) believed that dropout of students is due to lack of integration and there geographical location. It is important the student get feedbacks so the student may not get frustrated (Wood, 1996, Galusha, 1997). Third area is resource support and services which include technical assistance, support of services which is necessary for distance learners. Fourth problem is the alienation and isolation with the distance learner. As the distance learner may feel insecure and inadequacy. Fifth problem is the Pedagogical Issues (study material) provided to student and it should be considered that the student is experienced with E-learning system or not in case distance study. Other problems are computer self efficiency, writing skills of student as well as study quality of the materials prepared by instructors.

“E-learning: just a waste of time”

(Lytras and Pouloudi, 2001)

The author mentioned about high dropout rate of a student from e-learning courses and described different factors such as, Technological Issue (Technological infrastructure), resource support issues (Management Support), Institutional Issues (Staff training, Economic/Finance, self efficiency ) and Ethical issues (Culture Resistance). On the bases of above mentioned issues the author considered e-learning process is just a waste of time. More ever the research is based on Multidimensional Dynamic e-learning model.

“The Strategic role of digital libraries: issues in e-learning environments”.

(Wang, M.Y, 2003)

In this article author describes the effective role of digital libraries in e-learning environment more ever issues in e-learning environment such as pedagogical issues (content analysis), technological issues, ethical factors such as political were described and analyzed.

“The future of E-learning as an educational innovation: Factors influencing project success and failure.”

(Romiszowski 2003)

In this article author mention some factors which are cause of failure of E-learning. These factors are Institutional Issues (financial aid, training), lower motivation in learning and management issues such as poor management skills, technological issues, pedagogical issues (course contents), and resource support issues.

“Effective e-learning for health professionals and students barriers and their solutions. A systematic review of the literature. ”

(Childs et al, 2005)

Important barriers mentioned by the author in this article are; institutional issues (finance, self efficiency, learning skills development, training), pedagogical issues (course contents), resource support issues, technological issues, management issues and ethical issues. More ever the author suggested the solution for the above mention barriers by standardization, integration of e-learning into curriculum and providing training support and dedicated time to the employer.

“How's the E-learning Baby? Factors Leading to Success or Failure of an Educational Technology Innovation”. Romiszowski (2004)

In this article the author focus some issues which are hurdles in the success of education technology such as management issues, Technological infrastructure, resource support issues, Institutional issues (learning skills development, Economic/Finance) and ethical issues (culture Resistance, social and political issues).

“Student Barriers to Online Learning: A factor analytic study”.

(Muilenburg and Berge, 2005)

In this article the author identified some factors which are ethical issues (social interaction, administrative issues), pedagogical issues, quality of course content, learner motivation, resource support and management issues, institutional issues (financial aid) and Technological issues which acts as barriers for students in an online learning environment.

“Challenges and Issues of Teaching Online”.

(Baylen and Zhu, 2009)

The main focus of this article is towards challenges face by teachers in online teaching process. These challenges are i)Technological issues ii) use technology in innovative way iii) fulfilled student needs at a distance iv) increase flexibility in working hours and locations v) quick response to student request for online educational opportunities vi) more interaction with student and vii) quick response to administration.

“Cross- and Multi-cultural contexts for E-learning-challenges and opportunities for the E-tutor”.

(Holmes et al, 2005)

This paper will examine the challenges offered by cross and multi cultural E-learning. In this article focused on E-learning issues within a multicultural environment. Guidelines for instructors who can work in a collaborative and multi-cultural environment. In multicultural environment different Ethical issues such as Language and leaner's diversity as described and analyzed.

“Cross-Cultural Issues in Online Learning”.

(Rogers and Wang, 2008)

Author mentioned about cultural issues in online learning process. Author classified variety of cultural issues focusing on ethical issues (language impact). These Issues include Educational values (purpose, method of education), Reasoning patterns (writing structure, problem analysis), cultural resistance, Ways of knowing (Analytical approach rather than synthetic approach used by western society), Ways of communication (relationships between student and teacher), content and context, technological concerns and language impact.

“E-learning in small Organizations”

(Sambrook, 2003)

Author mentions in this paper some tradition barriers facing by small and medium size organizations with respect to e-learning. These are Institutional issues (finance), time management issues, and technological issues (infrastructure planning).

“Analyzing Cultural Influences on E learning Transactional Issues”

( Lemone, 2009)

Author describes the cultural influence on E-learning. “Transactional distance between student and student (TDSS), Transactional distance between student and teacher (TDST), Transactional distance between student and content (TDSC), and Transactional distance between student and interface (TDSI), often the course management system.”

“Challenges of Change Management in E-Learning”. (Partow-Navid and Slusky, 2009)

Author mentioned about the challenges in terms of change management in E-learning focusing on strategies for implementing in an organization. Author classified these processes in strategic analysis and strategic direction. Strategic analysis which determines the organizational effectiveness where as strategic direction is based on organizational goals and objectives.

“Research on Cultural Factors in Global E-Learning”.

(Stepich et al, 2009)

Multicultural factors for the success of E learning in organization were considered and formulated “one size fits all” or “custom fit ” approach was formulated by the author .Moreover Hofstede model was used to ensure that E-learning results will be effective to the organization

“Teaching Culture and Communication with Online Media”.

(St.Amant, 2009)

Author focus on the media which allows students to connect global community but people need to know the cultural factors such cultural diversity and geographical diversity which can affect online interactions. Online media allows every individual to tap into a growing global community.

Cultural communication differences and educational cultural difference which acts as barriers towards online education system.

“Challenges for E-Learning and Adult Students in Higher Education”

(Correia and Sarmento, 2009)

Author discussed about the challenges faced by adult student when come across new system. Therefore the student should focus on i) meeting expectations, ii) improve learning and teaching methodologies and iii) understand and overcome difficulties faced by adults in higher education programmer.

“Understanding Cultural Influences: Principles for Personalized E-learning Systems”.

(Boondao et al (2008)

This paper explores the cultural influence towards students learning process. Author formulated few principles to encounter cultural issues differences mentioned below

Educational value differences, Educational cultural bac

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