E-learning projects in developing countries suffer enormous challenges because of various factors. Particularly, technologies that are designed and developed outside of a developing country context are causing significant problems when implemented in developing countries. So far e-learning studies in developing countries have examined utilization, acceptance, adoption, success and failure using the following factors: culture, human behaviour towards technology, and organizational influences. This paper reviews different theoretical perspectives used so far and determines that they are not capturing the complexity of the environment of e-learning implementations in developing countries. In particular, the inextricable entanglement of people, technology and the environment is under-appreciated. Furthermore, the complex design implications of that entanglement are not well managed. This paper explores the potentiality of ‘sociomateriality’ as a new lens to examine the uptake and design of the virtual learning environment in a developing country context. The framework proposed uses the concept of entanglement for examining technology uptake and the concept of sociomaterial imbrication to investigate the design considerations of the virtual learning environment. The proposed framework will be trialled in a forthcoming research project investigating virtual learning environment implementations in state-owned higher education institutions in a developing country.