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The role of usability on e-learning user interactions and satisfaction: a literature review

Asela Indunil Gunesekera (Center for Modern Information Managment, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China and Department of Computer Science, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Ratmalana, Sri Lanka)
Yukun Bao (Center for Big Data Analytics, Jiangxi University of Engineering, Xinyu, China)
Mboni Kibelloh (Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Tumaini University Makumira – Dar es Salaam College, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 3 October 2019

Issue publication date: 21 October 2019




The purpose of this study is to review the effect of usability factors on e-learning user relationships, namely, student–student interaction (SSI), student–instructor interaction (SII) and student–content interaction (SCI), in the existing e-learning literature. Further, this study intended to identify whether usability contributes to the satisfaction of e-learners.


This study has undertaken a systematic review using the PRISMA methodology to filter the literature in the domain of e-learning with respect to usability concerns using six databases. An analytical framework has been formulated to evaluate the literature against different dimensions of interactions and usability.


Results reveal that while SSI has grabbed 71.4 per cent research attention with respect to usability factors of e-learning systems, SCI has been given the least focus, i.e. 26.6 per cent. According to the results, e-learning systems’ usability issues influence the user relationships and affect the user satisfaction, which will lead to lack of user continuity.

Practical implications

The findings of this review will provide insights to instructional designers to construct more satisfied learning content for the users. The analysis framework of this study will encourage researchers to drive future research in e-learning along with the concern of usability.


This research emphasizes on the importance of SCI to focus future e-learning research on a different angle, in addition to SSI and SII. The analysis framework of this study will provide different dimensions, specifically for the empirical research in the domain of e-learning.



Gunesekera, A.I., Bao, Y. and Kibelloh, M. (2019), "The role of usability on e-learning user interactions and satisfaction: a literature review", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 368-394.



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