The use and effectiveness of systems development methodologies in developing electronic learning systems
Van Aswegen, Jacobus Coenraad
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The main focus of this study is to determine if systems development methodologies are being utilised in the development of electronic learning systems in South Africa and if these methodologies are being applied effectively. Essentially this study can be viewed as exploratory research, utilising a conceptual research model to investigate the relationships between the constructs and measurements. Electronic learning, or e-learning, is being employed to educate millions of learners, students and employees around the world and it is a critical component of modern educational systems. E-learning systems, or learning management systems, as it is known in the field, sit at the heart of these educational systems and are used to systematically deliver on-line content and facilitate the learning experience around that content. There is still much confusion and misconceptions surrounding e-learning and learning management systems abound. This study will try and clarify some of these misconceptions. In e-learning systems, the effective use of information systems is especially relevant as it is used to educate the minds of the future. To ensure that e-learning systems of outstanding quality are being developed, it is therefore crucial that systems development methodologies are being used as they can have a significant impact on the development process. There is a dearth of empirical research available on the use and effectiveness of systems development methodologies in South Africa. This study aims, amongst other things to make a contribution to the availability of empirical results. By empirically evaluating the conceptual research model, utilising a survey as the main research method and statistically analysing the dataset, meaningful results were obtained. This study gave some insights into how learning management system procurement and development is being done in South Africa and revealed that the use of open-source systems currently exceeds the use of proprietary systems. The results of the research showed that systems development methodologies (e.g. Object-Oriented Analysis and Rapid Application Development) are being used effectively in the development of e-learning systems. Strong relationships exist between many of the systems development methodology factors identified (e.g. performance expectancy and the perceived support of the methodology) and the quality and productivity of the development process. This in turn has a strong influence on the impact systems development methodologies have on the quality of learning management systems.