Adoption and Implementation of Online Learning Systems in Lebanon: Prospects and Barriers

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
This study aims at obtaining a finer-grained understanding of the primary prospects and barriers to adopt and implement online education systems in Lebanon, through investigating online learning readiness and acceptance among various key stakeholders in higher education. This study started with an assumption that traditional systems govern the processes of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, depriving the nation from the chance to harness the opportunities brought forth by online education. A multiple case study, mixed-methods research design, was conducted on Lebanese higher education students, faculty and senior academic leaders, revealed adequate readiness levels and increased acceptance of online education among students and faculty. Data was collected quantitatively through electronically distributed questionnaires and qualitatively through face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Macro and micro levels of analysis took place using statistical testing methods and thematic analysis led to an emergent status of online education in Lebanon. Operationally, strong e-learning management capacity and institutional readiness distinguished private institutions, while weak technological infrastructure and geographical complexity characterized the public university. Lack of readiness in ministry for abrupt change that online education might cause in pedagogy and instruction surfaced, leading to strategical resistance for full-fledged online programs. Diminished state funding for public university, fears from the mediocrity of ‘no-lecture university’, faculty job relevance, doubts in students’ self-regulation skills and the possible influence of corruption on student enrollment form major barriers. Prospects lie in the consensus that online education can serve as a catalyst for higher education transformative change supported by embracing culture for implementation at postgraduate studies, leading to a proposal on strategic plan for successful implementation. Various statistically tested associations along with sophisticated qualitative stakeholder analysis led to expanding readiness and acceptance models with practical implications for future testing. Limitations were assigned along with valuable and empirical contributions.
Internet in education., Lebanon, higher education, e-learning management