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A conceptual framework highlighting e-learning implementation barriers

Samnan Ali (Department of Business Informatics Systems and Accounting, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
M. Amaad Uppal (Informatics Research Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)
Stephen R. Gulliver (Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 5 February 2018



E-learning has gained much focus from educators and researchers, with many extolling e-learning over traditional learning. Despite this focus, implementation of e-learning systems often fails. The purpose of this paper is to consider a range of barriers, impacting the success of e-learning implementations, yet to the best of the authors’ knowledge no conceptual framework is able to consolidate existing research.


This paper undertook an in-depth review of literature concerning e-learning implementation barriers. Papers were extracted from established peer-reviewed journals and open sources. Articles not related to e-learning implementation barriers were discarded. A total of 259 papers were identified, published between 1990 and 2016. Hermeneutics and data-driven qualitative content analysis was used to define 68 unique barriers.


The 68 unique barriers were thematically grouped into four conceptual categories, i.e. Technology (T), Individual (I), Pedagogy (P), and Enabling Conditions (EC). These four categories led to the conceptualization of “TIPEC” framework, which highlights the key concepts hindering e-learning implementation and delivery. Results show that most articles only consider a narrow range of success barriers.

Practical implications

The proposed TIPEC framework acts as a guide for education practitioners, system developers, policy makers, and researchers. It provides stakeholders with a summary of e-learning barriers.


This paper fulfils an identified need for a conceptual framework that consolidates all current research related to e-learning implementation barriers.



Ali, S., Uppal, M.A. and Gulliver, S.R. (2018), "A conceptual framework highlighting e-learning implementation barriers", Information Technology & People, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 156-180.



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