Acceptance and use of e-learning systems by undergraduate students of Ecuador: The case of a state university

Richard Ramirez-Anormaliza, Ferrán Sabaté, Xavier Llinàs-Audet, Oriol Lordan


Purpose: The purpose of this research was to adapt the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to predict the use and intended use of e-learning systems among undergraduate students at a state university in Ecuador, with the intention of improving the understanding of those factors that could enhance the utilization of these systems and the implementation of policies to increase the benefits they bring to the process of teaching and learning.

Design/methodology: The analysis has epistemological basis on the empirical-inductive, based on observation of perception. Based on the literature review on the evaluation and acceptance of e-learning systems, the model has been adapted to the case of Ecuador and a questionnaire with 52 items based on Likert scales was developed. The instrument was emailed to 600 undergraduate students from a state university in Ecuador, being 423 of them answered satisfactorily. We performed validity and reliability tests of structural equation model by partial least squares (PLS), with the support of statistical software SmartPLS.

Contributions and results: The results indicate that all the hypotheses of TAM are met in the Ecuadorian context, when assessing the acceptance of e-learning systems among undergraduate students at a state university. The main contribution was to identify that the perceived enjoyment, social influence and computer self-efficacy have a direct effect on the two main constructs of TAM, perceived ease of use (PEOU) and perceived usefulness (PU). It was also found that satisfaction (S) is highly influenced by PU and S influences the use of e-learning systems, being the first a specific contribution of this study. Technical support showed no influence on the fundamental constructs of TAM.

Limitations: The research was conducted to undergraduate students in one state Category B university of Ecuador, being the reality of this country more complex, as there are four categories with different characteristics. We haven’t considered neither age, gender, graduate students nor socioeconomic status, among other student characteristics that may affect the investigation.

Practical implications: Identifying the factors that influence the acceptance and use of e-learning systems will help to create and improve teaching and learning environments for undergraduate students. Allowing exploiting the benefits of these technological tools more efficiently, adapting them to management policies of the institutions of higher education.

Originality/value: This paper presents empirical data on the use and acceptance of e-learning systems for undergraduate students of a particular university in Ecuador. No similar studies are evident in the country and the model can be considered for future studies of national scope.


e-learning, TAM, PLS, SEM, Structural equation models, Partial least squares

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2021

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience