Learning Management Systems: Potential or utopia?

Morten Juhl Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis provides an empirical analysis and theoretical discussion of the Learning Management System (LMS) within the Danish university system. It is suggested that the quality of university education is under pressure from society, political reforms and legislations, and the focus is, on the basis of past studies, to analyse and assess the positioning, usage and relevance of the LMS within the context of Blended Learning, and how it fulfils an expected and predicted role as a tool for quality assurance of university education. Past studies on Copenhagen Business School, have revealed an LMS which, despite seemingly extensive resources and initiatives dedicated towards the LMS, as a social learning tool, has never escaped basic, generic usage. This thesis expands the scope by conducting case studies through qualitative research interviews, LMS statistics and development contracts, of five different Danish universities: CBS, RUC, KU, AU & AAU. The purpose is to find out how LMS's, on a general, is interpreted, approached and implemented within Danish university institutions. Which recommendations can be given and can alternative models be thought to exist towards assuring the quality of our university educations? The thesis wishes to contribute to the framework for this debate. Using an inductive approach, the method of meaning condensation summarises and thematises 11 qualitative research interviews into 5 core themes: Drivers, Resource allocation, Usage, Challenges and Future direction. On the basis of the findings, discussion with extensive interpretation and theoretical analysis is done within the sociotechnological framework of: Institutional theory, Structuration theory and Technology Acceptance Model. The conclusions of the thesis are that the environmental and contextual parameters, which Danish universities operate under, are directly impeding any initiatives the universities might have towards more advanced usage of the LMS. Furthermore, the thesis points to concerns within the institutional workings, particularly in the areas of split professional roles (Researcher / Teacher) and unbalanced incentive structures.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages106