Gender differences in factors influencing adoption of learning management systems by academic staff in Makerere University
This study explored gender differences in factors that influence academic staff adoption of learning management systems such as the Makerere University e-Learning Environment (MUELE). MUELE is an LMS designed to enhance teaching and learning through increased use of ICT. Specifically, the study set out to: examine who uses MUELE to improve course creation and delivery; examine what factors influence male and female staff choice to adopt MUELE, and, assess those that constrain adoption of MUELE. The study also assessed the benefits of adopting MUELE in teaching. The researcher anticipated that adoption of LMS is affected by a number of factors. Unfortunately, these factors might, to an extent, be intensified or moderated by one’s gender, leading to gender differences in adoption of MUELE as a teaching medium by academic staff in Makerere University. Using Activity Theory (AT) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) theories, the study assessed the enabling factors and barriers to adoption of MUELE LMS in teaching by male and female staff. A sample of seventy two (20 female & 52 male) respondents was purposively selected from the three colleges of Makerere University. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were employed. The key research tools used included: a semi structured questionnaire for the quantitative data and an interview guide for the qualitative data. Although an equal number of male and female staff using MUELE was sought out, study findings revealed that: there are more male academic staffs than the female that have adopted the use MUELE LMS. This explains the few number of female staff that were eventually selected to participate in this study. There are many factors influencing male and female staff adoption of MUELE to enhance teaching in Makerere University. The factors are either general and these relate to infrastructure (such as unreliable internet connectivity, power blackouts as well as limited access to computers). The more specific factors highlight the gender differences in factors as the staff relate to the LMS as individual users’ and in specific contexts. For example, it was found out that more male staff found the factor of enthusiastic students enabling their adoption of MUELE. While for the female staff, it was the usefulness of the LMS, particularly enhancing teaching and ease of access to learning resources. However, some factors such as limited skills and awareness of what MUELE is and how best it can be used to support teaching equally affect adoption to both male and female staff. Thus, as a recommendation, Makerere University should address the general issues of connectivity, skills training and power cuts. Success in the general will enhance the context gender specific factors to promote uptake.