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Abstract

Virtual learning environments have in recent years become an important tool in higher education, in distance learning as well as on campus. This study analyzes factors influencing acceptance of virtual learning environments among academic staff and students in blended learning environments. Two research questions guided the study: (1) How do organizational and individual factors influence the acceptance of virtual learning environments among academic staff and students? (2) What are the implications for practice in order to create good prerequisites for acceptance of virtual learning environments? The study was performed as a comparative, explanatory case study at three universities providing master education of public health in Sweden, Norway and Lithuania. The findings of the case study showed that the contextual factor of culture was powerful in influencing acceptance of virtual learning environments, positively as well as negatively. High degrees of performance expectancy, results demonstrability and social influence affected acceptance of virtual learning environments positively. The degree of social influence was hypothesized to be transferred by the contextual factor of culture. The organizational culture of universities, ex-pressed as shared values of what is good quality teaching and learning, were found to partly oppose values inherent in the virtual learning environment. Implications for practice are put forward, emphasizing culture as an important factor to consider in the implementation of virtual learning environments.

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