Interrogating Factors Affecting the Choice and Utilisation of Online Learning Technologies for A Higher Education Institution


  • Prof.
  • Talent Rugube a:1:{s:5:"en_US";s:22:"University of Eswatini";}
  • Dr
  • Patience Dlamini



Higher Education, Technology, Online learning, Teaching and learning



This desktop review paper advances the view that the utilisation of technology for online teaching and learning needs to be based on sound considerations. Online learning technologies are defined and the purpose of utilising such technologies is explored. Among the different considerations in online technology utilisation is the need to consider how the technologies assist in solving pedagogical challenges for teaching and learning. The context in which the learners and the course instructors find themselves using the technologies may promote or negate the effective use of the technology. Technology may be costly to procure and maintain, and this factor should be considered before the technology is procured for use in an institution of higher education. In many contexts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, the digital divide is real in terms of access to technologies and the skills in technology use. The use of technology may perpetuate social differences as learners from disadvantaged backgrounds end up being left out of the learning process. Organisational and infrastructural issues are other important factors to consider in technology utilisation. The paper concludes that technology utilisation for online teaching and learning should be deliberately planned to consider numerous factors and address avoidable challenges in the implementation of online learning.


. MacDonald, K. (2017). “Factors Positively Influencing Persistence and Program Completion for Nontraditional Students Enrolled at a For-Profit Postsecondary Institution” , Drexel University.

. Ravitz, J., & Blazevski, J. (2014). Assessing the role of online technologies in project-based learning. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 8(1), 9. Murphy, A., Farley, H., Lane, M., Hafeez-Baig, A., & Carter, B. (2014). “Mobile learning anytime, anywhere: what are our students doing?”, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 18(3).

. Apuke, O. D., & Iyendo, T. O. (2018). University students' usage of the internet resources for research and learning: forms of access and perceptions of utility. Heliyon, 4(12), e01052.Trucano (2014). “Promising uses of technology in education in poor, rural and isolated communities around the world”,

. Andujar, A. (2020). “Language Learner Engagement in Telecollaboration Environments”, In Handbook of Research on Fostering Student Engagement With Instructional Technology in Higher Education (pp. 249-266). New York: IGI Global.

. LoBue A. (2020). “Addressing Technology Access Inequity in Distance Learning and Online Education”

. Mir, K., Iqbal, M. Z., & Shams, J. A. (2020). “An investigation of AIOU students’ satisfaction about formative m-assessment using SMS technology”, Pakistan Journal of Distance and Online Learning, 5(2).

. Bates, A.W. (2015). “Teaching in a digital age”. Alberta: AU Press Athabasca University

. Cowling, M. & Birt, J. (2018). “Pedagogy before Technology: A Design-Based Research Approach to Enhancing Skills Development in Paramedic Science Using Mixed Reality”, Information, 9 (29), 1 - 15

. Friedhoff, J. R. (2008). “Reflecting on the affordances and constraints of technologies and their impact on pedagogical goals”, Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 24, 117–122.

. Harris, J., Mishra, M. P. & Koehler, M. (2009). “Teachers’ Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Learning Activity Types: Curriculum-based Technology Integration Reframed”, Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 41(4), 393–416

. Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2008). “Introducing tpck”, AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (Ed.), The handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (tpck) for educators (pp. 3-29). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

. Johnson, A. M., Jacovina, M. E., Russell, D. E., & Soto, C. M. (2016). “Challenges and solutions when using technologies in the classroom”, In S. A. Crossley & D. S. McNamara (Eds.) Adaptive educational technologies for literacy instruction (pp. 13-29). New York: Taylor & Francis.

. Andrea L. C., Ortiz de Zárate F.A & CMansilla, C.B. (2018). “Using an ICT tool for teaching English in a rural context”, Educ. Pesqui, Vol. 44, Sao Paulo 2018 Epub Apr 23, 2018.

. Dube, B. (2020). “Rural Online Learning in the Context of COVID-19 in South Africa: Evoking an Inclusive Education Approach”, Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research, 10(2), 135-157. doi: 10.4471/remie.2020.5607

. Panyajamorn, T., Suanmali, S., Kohda, Y., Chongphaisal, P. Supnithi, T. (2018).

. Chatterjee1, S., Majumdar, D., Misra, S. & Damaševičius, R. (2020). “Adoption of mobile applications for teaching-learning process in rural girls’ schools in India: an empirical study.” Education and Information Technologies, 25, 4057–4076.

. Kalonde, G. (2017). “Technology Use in Rural Schools: A Study of a Rural High School Trying to Use iPads in the Classroom”, Fall, 2017.

. Van den Berg, G. (2020). “Context matters: Student experiences of interaction in Open Distance Learning”, Turlish Online Journal of Distance Education - TOJDE, 21(4), 223-236

. Suwannatthachote, P., & Tantrarungroj, P. (2012). “How Facebook Connects Students' Group Work Collaboration: A Relationship between Personal Facebook Usage and Group En-gagement”, Creative Education, 3, 15.

. Apau S. K., “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Preparedness of Student-Teachers of the Department of Arts and Social Sciences Education of University of Cape Coast”, Journal of Educational Practice, vol. 8, no. 10, pp. 167–181, 2017.

. Davis, F.D. (1989). “Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology”, MIS Quarterly, 13 (3), 319-340.

. King, W.R. & He, J. (2006). “A Meta-analysis of the technology acceptance model”, Information and Management, 43 (6), 740-755.

. Venkatesh, V., Thong, J.Y. & Xu, X. (2016). “Unified theory of acceptance and use of technology: a synthesis and the road ahead”, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 17 (5). 328-376.

. Eiland, L. S. & Todd, T. J. (2019). “Considerations When Incorporating Technology Into Classroom and Experiential Teaching”, The Journal of Paediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 24(4), 270–275

. Sharma, K. (2011). “Financial implications of implementing an e-learning project”, Journal of European Industrial Training 35(7), 658-686

. Livingstone, S. (2011). “Critical reflections on the benefits of ICT in education”, Oxford Review of Education, 38 (1), 9-24.

. Mthethwa-Kunene, K.E. & Maphosa, C. (2020). “An Analysis of Factors Affecting Utilisation of Moodle Learning Management System by Open and Distance Learning Students at the University of Eswatini”, American Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 5 (1), 17-32,

. Patel, N. M., Kadyamatimba, A. & Madzvamuse, S. (2017). “Investigating factors influencing the implementation of e-learning at rural based universities”, Information Technology Journal, 16, 101-113.

. Hwa C.D., Dailey-Hebert , A. & Simmons E.J. (2016). “Emerging Tools and Applications of Virtual Reality in Education”, IGI Global.

. Kotoua, S., Ilkan, M. & Kilic, H. (2015). “The Growing Of Online Education in Sub Saharan Africa: Case Study Ghana”, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 191, 2406 – 2411

. Mhlanga, D. & Moloi, T. (2020). “COVID-19 and the Digital Transformation of Education: What Are We Learning on 4IR in South Africa?”, Education Sciences, 10 (180), 1 - 11

. Soomro, K. A., Kale, U., Curtis, R., Akcaoglu, M, & Bernstein, M. (2020). “Digital divide among higher education faculty”, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 17 (21), 1 - 16

. Soomro, K. A., Kale, U., Curtis, R., Akcaoglu, M., & Bernstein, M. (2018). “Development of an instrument to measure faculty’s information and communication technology access (FICTA)”, Education and Information Technologies, 23(1), 253–269.

. Rogers, S. E. (2016). “Bridging the 21st century digital divide”, TechTrends, 60(3), 197–199.

. Dimaggio, P. Hargittai, E., Celeste, C. & Shafer, S. (2004). “From unequal access to differentiated use: A literature review and agenda for research on digital inequality”, in Neckerman, K. (ed.), Social Inequality, Russell Sage Foundation, pp. 355-400.

. Ghavifekr, S. & Rosdy, W.A.W. (2015). “Teaching and learning with technology: Effectiveness of ICT integration in schools”, International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 1(2), 175-191.

. Chan, B. S., Churchill, D., & Chiu, T. K. (2017). “Digital literacy learning in higher education through digital storytelling approach”, Journal of International Education Research (JIER), 13(1), 1–16.

. Pegrum, M. (2011). “Modified, multiplied and (re) mixed: Social media and digital literacies”, in M Thomas (Ed.), Digital Education: Opportunities for Social Collaboration. New York, NT: Palgrave, MacMillan.

. Ng, W. (2015). “Digital Literacy: The Overarching Element for Successful Technology Integration”, In New Digital Technology in Education (pp. 125–145). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

. Gillett-Swan, J. (2017). “The Challenges of Online Learning Supporting and Engaging the Isolated Learner”,Journal of Learning Design, 10 (1), 20 - 30

. Mpungose, C. B. (2020). “Emergent transition from face-to-face to online learning in a South African University in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic”, Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7 (113), 1 - 9

. Tejedor, S., Cervi, L.,Pérez-Escoda, A. & Jumbo, F.T. (2020). “Digital Literacy and Higher Education during COVID-19 Lockdown: Spain, Italy, and Ecuador”, MDPI Publications 8, (48), 1 - 17

. Zhu, D. S., Lin, C. T. & Hsu, Y. C. (2012). “Using the technology acceptance model to evaluate user attitude and intention of use for online games”, Total Quality Management, 23 (7-8), 965-980.Kanski, J.J., Clinical ophthalmology. 6th edition ed2007, London: Elsevier Health Sciences (United Kingdom). 952.Conference on, 2001. 1: p. 934.

. Bentham, H. (2013). “Clearing the path that has been laid: A conceptualization of education for sustainable development”,Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 15(2), 25 - 41.

. Bates, A.W. (2015). “Teaching in a digital age”. Alberta: AU Press Athabasca University

. Albrahim, F.A. (2020). “Online Teaching Skills and Competencies”, The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 19 (1), 9 - 20

. Johnson, R., Kemp, E., Kemp, R., & Blakey, P. (2007). “A theory for eLearning”, Educational Technology & Society, 10 (4), 143- 155

. Mondal, P., Misra, S. & Misra, I. S. (2013). “A low cost low bandwidth real-time virtual classroom system for distance learning”, IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference: South Asia Satellite (GHTC-SAS), 2013, pp. 74-79, doi: 10.1109/GHTC-SAS.2013.6629892.

. Gwaka, L. T., May, J., & Tucker, W. (2018). “Towards low‐cost community networks in rural communities: The impact of context using the case study of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe”, The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 84(3), e12029.

. Damani, K. & Mitchell, J.(2020). “Radio: A Rapid Evidence Review. (EdTechHub Rapid Evidence Review)”, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4556932

. Jacob, J. U. U., & Ensign, M. (2020). “Where There Is No School: A New Transactional Model of Radio Instruction”, In Transactional Radio Instruction (pp. 75-102). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

. Chiaraviglio, L., Blefari-Melazzi, N., Liu, W., Gutiérrez, J. A., Van De Beek, J., Birke, R. & Wu, J. (2017). “Bringing 5G into rural and low-income areas: Is it feasible?”, IEEE Communications Standards Magazine, 1(3), 50-57.

. Baratè, A., Haus, G., Ludovico, L. A., Pagani, E., & Scarabottolo, N. (2019, July). 5G technology and its applications to music education. In Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems, MCCSIS 2019-Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning (pp. 65-72).Graticola I. S. (2020) . “5G Wireless,”




How to Cite

Maphosa, C., Rugube, T., Mthethwa-Kunene, K. E. ., & Dlamini, P. (2021). Interrogating Factors Affecting the Choice and Utilisation of Online Learning Technologies for A Higher Education Institution. Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, 8(9), 278–288.