Investigation of the use of a learning management systems in postgraduate educational technology modules : a case study.
Studies (Alavi, 2000, Conole, 2004, Birch & Burnett, 2009,) reveal that technology has been capable of enhancing teaching and learning in various contexts. It is within such a context that this study investigated the utility of Learning Management System (LMS) in postgraduate teaching and learning at the Faculty of Education in the South African university. My focus was the experiences of both academic staff and postgraduate students in relation to the learning opportunities and challenges accompanying LMS as used as a teaching and learning platform. This study employed a mixed methods approach (a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches), which was implemented in two phases, following a sequential order (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003). In phase one, a quantitative approach was employed. This approach engaged students in completing a questionnaire that comprised of close and open-ended questions. Furthermore, simple random sampling was applied to select the respondents for data production in this phase. In the second phase a qualitative approach, concerned itself with the production of in depth data). The sub-sample of the population from the questionnaire was used in the focus group and individual interviews with educational technology students. All those participants whose responses spoke better to the critical questions were selected. Three academics were selected for individual interviews. Convenience purposive sampling (Henning, 2004) was applied for the selection of the participants in this level. Non-participatory observation was applied for triangulation purposes. In terms of analysis, thematic analysis was used (Aronson 1994), with charts and statistics representing quantitative data and texts representing qualitative data. By means of guided analysis, research findings were interpreted (Hammonds, 1976). In order to discuss all these findings, the principle of construct-connect theory (Gagnon & Collay, 2000: Siemens: 2004) was used. The results revealed that both selected academics and postgraduate students knew the capabilities and challenges of the LMS. The implications of these capabilities and challenges for teaching and learning were discussed. The research concluded with a set of recommendations to ensure, the effective use of Learning Management System to support teaching and learning in the postgraduate sector.