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Why do academics respond to learning technologies differently? A professional identity analysis of learning management system adoption

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 11:00am – 11:30am parallel session



Room 3 – 303-G15 Sem  



Dr Qian Liu
University of Auckland Business School

Professor Susan Geertshuis
University of Auckland Business School



Universities introduce learning technologies with the aim of shifting the traditional teaching practice towards innovative teaching delivery in blended and online environments (Schoonenboom, 2014). The adoption of the learning technologies by academics within universities, however, has fallen short of institutional aspirations (Cigdem and Topcu, 2015). Research shows that academics respond to learning technologies in different ways: some make use of technological advancements to engage with innovative pedagogies whereas the majority use technologies to replicate without necessarily improving teaching practice (Lonn and Teasley, 2009).


The issue

In this study, we sought to address the issue of why academics adopt learning technologies differently. Rather than simply categorising adopters as innovators or laggards and viewing adoption as being shaped by technological characteristics, we proposed a professional identity perspective of adoption, which is adopter-centred and non-judgemental. We empirically explored the feasibility of this perspective at a New Zealand university where a new learning management system was implemented top-down. We surveyed academic staff at the university and analysed the data using structural equation modelling.



The results showed that the adoption of the learning management system was associated with academics’ professional identity. Variations in aspects of professional identity not only shaped the extent of adoption but also predicted qualitatively different ways of using the learning management system. Our findings demonstrate that learning technology adoption is a professional identity issue: the degree of alignment between professional identity and learning technology shapes individual adoption.

In our presentation we will discuss the implications of the findings for university-wide technology implementation and academic development initiatives. We will share practices that were effective and offer an interpretation those that are not.



Al-Samarraie, Hosam, Bee Kim Teng, Ahmed Ibrahim Alzahrani, and Nasser Alalwan. 2017. “E-learning Continuance Satisfaction in Higher Education: A Unified Perspective from Instructors and Students.”  Studies in Higher Education 43 (11):2003-19. doi:10.1080/03075079.2017.1298088.
Cigdem, Harun, and Abdullah Topcu. 2015. “Predictors of Instructors’ Behavioral Intention to Use Learning Management System: A Turkish Vocational College Example.”  Computers in Human Behavior 52:22-8. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.05.049.
Lonn, S., and S. D. Teasley. 2009. “Saving Time or Innovating Practice: Investigating Perceptions and Uses of Learning Management Systems.”  Computers & Education 53 (3):686-94. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.04.008.
Renda dos Santos, Luiz Miguel, and Shintaro Okazaki. 2016. “Planned E-learning Adoption and Occupational Socialisation in Brazilian Higher Education.”  Studies in Higher Education 41 (11):1974-94. doi:10.1080/03075079.2015.1007940.
Schoonenboom, Judith. 2014. “Using an Adapted, Task-level Technology Acceptance Model to Explain Why Instructors in Higher Education Intend to Use Some Learning Management System Tools More Than Others.”  Computers & Education 71:247-56. doi: doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.09.016.


Presentation topic

Tertiary – Technologies

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