Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Applying the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to Educational Hypermedia: A Field Study

Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Applying the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to Educational Hypermedia: A Field Study

Article excerpt

       This article applies the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to an
       online course companion site of a textbook to be used by
       participants in this study. This article reviews literature on
       TAM and evaluates a set of hypotheses based on the theoretical
       relationships established in the TAM model. Results suggest that
       TAM is overall an effective tool for predicting user acceptance
       of such web-based course support systems and for evaluating
       competing hypermedia-based educational products. Discussion and
       suggestions for future research are offered.

The use of the Internet is increasingly prevalent in the educational environment. We observed that many textbook authors and publishers put up companion websites to stay competitive in the textbook market. Traditionally, only instructors receive something such as an instructor's manual, presentation slides, and test files from the publisher. With the companion sites, students can also obtain a lot of information such as chapter outlines, lecture files, simulated case studies, practice tests, web-based exercises, and hyperlinks to websites related to course coverage, including examples, cases, and pertinent government regulations and standards. Such course companions are not born equal. Factors determining acceptance and use of such sites need to be uncovered so that student input can be used in the selection process of textbooks based on a simple, useful, yet cost-effective mechanism. However, the lack of theoretical or conceptual frameworks in many past studies dealing with the effectiveness of web-based learning systems resulted in inconsistent results and left the question of what constitute the determining factors of effective delivery of educational hypermedia unanswered (Psaromiligkos & Retalis, 2003). The technology acceptance model's (TAM) parsimonious nature makes it a good candidate for such a purpose. This study examines the validity of TAM's theoretical relationships when applied to a course companion site. This article first presents the theoretical foundation of the TAM model, followed by a brief review of recent literature on TAM. Then it proposes and tests six hypotheses based on the TAM model through a field study in an educational institution. Finally, discussion of the findings, limitations, and future research opportunities are provided.

THE TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTANCE MODEL (TAM)

In information systems research, the user's attitude toward using and the actual usage of a technology are addressed in the TAM (Davis, 1989; Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989). TAM is rooted in the Theory of Reasoned Actions (TRA) (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980) in psychology research. It proposes that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of technology are predictors of user attitude toward using the technology, subsequent behavioral intentions, and actual usage. Perceived ease of use was also considered to influence perceived usefulness of technology. TAM has been applied in numerous studies testing user acceptance of information technology, for example, word processors (Davis et al., 1989), spreadsheet applications (Mathieson, 1991), e-mail (Szajna, 1996), web browser (Morris & Dillon, 1997), telemedicine (Hu, Chau, Sheng, & Tam, 1999), and websites (Koufaris, 2002). In this study, a hypermedia-based course support site was considered a system that makes use of internet and web technology in accomplishing its mission of delivering information to and interacting with the user through a computer interface. Thus such a system fits into the paradigm of research on technology acceptance. The following is a diagram of TAM based on Davis et al. (1989).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

TAM can serve the purpose of predicting user acceptance of a technology before the users get heavily involved in the technology, and thus is a cost-effective tool in screening potential candidate systems or programs. …

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