You are here:

The Temporal Properties of E-Learning: An Exploratory Study of Academics' Conceptions


International Journal of Educational Management Volume 30, Number 1, ISSN 0951-354X


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present the results of an exploratory study that investigates Portuguese academics' conceptions concerning the temporal properties of e-learning, in the context of traditional Higher Education Institutions. Design/methodology/approach: Grounded Theory methodology was used to systematically analyse data collected in semi-structured interviews with 62 academics. Data analysis followed the constant comparative method and its three-staged coding approach: open, axial and selective coding. Data collection and analysis developed until theoretical saturation was reached. Findings: Emergent academics' conceptions concerning the temporal properties of e-learning indicate the existence of unregulated and unaccounted for dynamics, which are a direct consequence of transitioning from campus-based lecturing to teaching online using the affordances of virtual learning environments. This transition produces disruptions to established workload metrics and work patterns, as well as conflicts with dominant modes of instructional delivery that are not synchronised with the demands of online interaction and immediacy. Originality/value: This paper is valuable to e-learning strategists and administrators. An understanding of the temporal properties of e-learning as perceived by academics provides actionable knowledge that is directly applicable to the design of suitable work arrangements, normative frameworks and e-learning practices that address perceived time-related barriers. To mitigate the time-related conflicts and disruptions identified in the study the authors suggest the establishment of university-wide norms of virtual presence and the implementation of temporal protocols to sustain the productive engagement between instructors and learners.


Martins, J. & Nunes, M.B. (2016). The Temporal Properties of E-Learning: An Exploratory Study of Academics' Conceptions. International Journal of Educational Management, 30(1), 2-19. Retrieved February 18, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on January 10, 2019. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.