An investigation into the use of a learning management system to support teaching and learning in a grade 10 information technology class.
The potential of the Internet as a learning tool has emerged as a result of its increased development and its use as a means of communication in various academic institutions. Online learning is one of the ways in which the Internet can be used as a learning tool which can provide support to educators in a classroom. The tools which support online learning cover a wide range of different applications, such as discussion forums, chat and file sharing. These tools can be used to support different activities in the learning process, such as content delivery and encouraging collaboration between the various people that participate. It is possible to link these different tools into a single system such as a learning management system (LMS). WebCT, BlackBoard and Moodle are examples of such LMSs. It is within the context of this background knowledge that the study on hand investigated the use of a LMS. The focus of this study was to investigate the use of an LMS in the teaching and learning of a Grade 10 Information Technology (IT) class, with emphasis on the attitudes and experiences of learners in relation to implementation of the LMS as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom. This study employed a mixed-methods approach (a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches). The quantitative approach included an attitudinal survey in the form of a questionnaire which used a Likert scale to assess responses to statements. The qualitative approach concerned itself with production of in-depth data. Focus group interviews were conducted with Grade 10 IT learners. These instruments generated data that were used to answer the main research questions. In terms of analysis of the data thematic analysis was used, with texts representing qualitative data and tables and statistics representing quantitative data. In order to discuss all of the findings the characteristics (attributes) of an innovation, as explained in the Diffusion of Innovations Theory, the constructs of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and the principles of connectivism were used. The research findings indicated that the learners had a positive attitude towards the use of the LMS to support teaching and learning.