The adoption of IT technologies and knowledge management factors and their impact on knowledge-sharing in virtual eLearning communities in Saudi universities

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Knowledge management (KM) is relatively a new research area within Arab countries generally and Saudi Arabia in particular. The government of Saudi Arabia has placed a high priority on transforming its oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy (Alammari and Chandran et al., 2014). To do this, Saudi Arabia has begun to plan and invest in building knowledge centres in order to diversify its economy resources from reliance on natural resource production to a knowledge-based economy (Shin et al. 2012). Research indicates that the quality and competency of educational institutes is enhanced by cultivating the practice of knowledge-sharing among the academic staff. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has launched a national virtual open educational resources repository (OER) project called Maknaz, which aims to serve the strategic plan’s work towards enrichment in learning resources and knowledge contents growth. Recently, Maknaz has been improved and released with a newer version named “Shams Platform”. However, there is a need to populate Maknaz or “Shams Platform” with reusable digitalised knowledge contents and learning electronic resources (Almegren and Yassin 2013 cited in Alammari and Chandran 2016). This can be achieved through adopting the practice of knowledge-sharing within the academic institutions in order to create and disseminate all forms of knowledge contents which can be consequently deposited into the knowledge contents repositories. The study’s main aim is to examine the key factors that influence the adoption of knowledge-sharing activities in Saudi universities’ virtual eLearning communities. A conceptual model was developed based on existing theories and an extensive literature review. Mixed method research (quantitative and qualitative approaches) was employed in this study. First, a quantitative approach (a survey questionnaire) was applied to empirically test the relationship between factors. Then, a qualitative study (case studies) was conducted to validate the survey results and provide more insight into the relationships identified. Finally, the study concludes and provides implications for research and practice.
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