E-learning systems sucess: a theorical model

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


E-learning systems are emerging in many settings of our society. These systems are enablers in the learning process, strengthening their importance as part of the educational strategy in universities and organizations, due to the recent increase of e-learning systems usage in different scenarios, the way people learn and access knowledge leads to a paradigm shift. Through massive online open courses (MOOCs) individuals are empowered and able to learn about a myriad of topics and areas, allowing for the development of skills and education in a truly independent way. The new tendencies reveal that e-learnings systems and MOOCs bring more enrolments than university enrolments over centuries, and teachers may have more students attending one massive course than in all the rest of their professional life. This medium may seem to be the answer to all learning barriers, but the effect of users’ characteristics and their engagement
level on the success of e-learning systems and MOOCs is yet to be explored.
Understanding the determinants of e-learning success is crucial for defining instructional strategies. The aim of this dissertation is to theorize by proposing an e-learning systems success model, which includes users’ characteristics, pedagogical perspectives, and technological aspects. This dissertation proposes three theoretical success models and report the empirical studies for each of the models’ validation. The first model determines that cultural aspects (individualism/collectivism) are success determinants in e-learning
systems. The second model assesses the non-cognitive skills (stamina in pursuing long term objectives, also known as grit) and their effect on e-learning success. The third model determines that certain pedagogic strategies, such as gamification, are powerful determinants in MOOCs success. The first two studies were developed through an electronic survey distributed to higher education students belonging to various learning levels and from several universities. The third study, on the determinants of successful MOOCs, empirically measured these factors in a real MOOC context. The studies apply
quantitative methods, and validate the theoretical models using structural equation modeling (SEM). The contributions of this dissertation are several, as it puts forward a theoretical framework for guiding e-learning studies. Findings demonstrate the determinant role of individualism/collectivism on individual and organizational impacts.
Students influenced by collective culture perceive more individual and organizational impacts than individualistic culture students. Results show that perseverance and consistency of interests (grit) have positive effects on satisfaction and in students’ individual performance, in the e-learning systems context. Results demonstrate that information quality and system quality explain user satisfaction with e-learning systems and MOOCs. Our findings also show that gamification has a significant and decisive impact on the success of MOOCs at both an individual and organizational level.
Gamification also moderates the relationship between individual impact and
organizational impact.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS)
  • Bação, Fernando José Ferreira Lucas, Supervisor
  • Oliveira, Tiago, Supervisor
Award date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2017


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