Singh, Gurmak (2011) The adoption and diffusion of elearning: a comparative case study using Giddens' theory of structuration. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

In the past decade the introduction of eLearning technologies has been associated with innovation in Higher Education (HE) as it brings significant change and has the potential to transform practice in many facets of university life. These learning technologies have been described as a 'disruptive‘ type of innovation as they can be a catalyst for transforming the strategic direction of HE and reach well beyond the traditional activities associated with classroom pedagogies.

However, the levels of adoption of eLearning vary significantly between universities in the UK, ranging from simple online availability of course content to the extensive use of content management systems. Additionally, several studies report that a significant number of academic staff are making little use of these learning technologies and that the adoption of eLearning has failed to reach the predicted expectations.

Previous approaches to the examination of the adoption and diffusion of eLearning have focused either on systemic change influenced by technology that transforms the entire organisation (macro-level studies) or on various parts of, or individuals within the institution that may benefit the most from adoption of the technology (micro-level studies). Recently, there has been recognition that these singular approaches have failed to fully appreciate the complexity of the adoption of eLearning within higher educational institutions. Furthermore, there is acknowledgement that the adoption of eLearning is influenced by both the potential adopter and the institutional properties. Thus, a number of commentators have proposed that future studies need to combine macro- and micro-level perspectives that regress from singular approaches and deploy more integrative perspectives that emphasise the interactions and interconnections between individual actions and institutional structure.

This thesis is situated in the field of HE and innovation management and examines the adoption and diffusion of learning technologies through a series of case studies. Drawing on Giddens‘ 'Theory of Structuration‘ and the work of Rogers in the adoption and diffusion of innovations, these exploratory case studies examine the interaction between human agency and structure. The implications of this study for university executives, managers, and academic teaching staff are far reaching, and, to some degree, contradict accepted management practice and existing literature.

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