Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Factors Affecting Teachers' Perceived Readiness for Online Collaborative Learning: A Case Study in Malaysia

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Factors Affecting Teachers' Perceived Readiness for Online Collaborative Learning: A Case Study in Malaysia

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This paper investigates factors affecting the perceived readiness for online collaborative learning (OCL) of a sample of 86 mathematics teachers from 12 secondary schools. Descriptive analysis, factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structure equation modeling were used to analyze the data. A moderately fit model was generated and able to inform that time constraint and insufficient access to technology such as computer and the Internet were confirmed to be the two impediments to OCL as perceived by the teachers. Besides, a new factor emerged, namely the factor of new learning paradigm, has shown positive impact on the teachers' perceived readiness for OCL. A majority of them agreed that school principal, training and guidance on OCL play an important role to support the implementation of this novice approach in schools.

Keywords

Secondary school education, Online learning, Computer-mediated communication, Cooperative and collaborative learning

Introduction

The use of computer mediated communication tools for collaborative and group learning can be introduced in schools as part of the initiative to promote meaningful learning and active learning (Jonassen, 1996; Jonassen, Howland, Moore & Marra, 2003; Duffy & Cunningham, 1996). Jonassen (1996) identified these online communication tools can be used to engage learners in the negotiation of meaning, sharing of ideas and information, and certainly, this approach of learning can be enhanced through collaborative learning.

In online collaborative learning (OCL), learners are able to interact and discuss with their peers, teachers or others conveniently in regard to their formal or informal studies. The contents for their discussion can be of any topics, depending on the type of project they are working on.

Malaysian secondary school education, however, has always been labeled as teacher-centric and examination oriented (Lim & Hua, 2007; Indramalar & Chapman, 2003). This educational approach is quite common in Asian schools and has been labeled as rote learning, rigid and stifles creativity (Beech, 2002). Measurements should be taken to promote fun education rather than focusing on examination (Goh & Chapman 2006; Khusairi, Zulkifly & Zanariah, 2005). In this sense, OCL could be one of them. In Malaysia, OCL is new for secondary schools and teachers' readiness for OCL is yet to be explored.

Factors affecting teachers' readiness for online learning

Access and digital divide have always been an issue for e-learning in many countries. Levin and Thurstan (1996) and Philson (1999) raised the issue of infrastructure and access to technology as the factors affecting online learning. Philson (1999) conducted a study to examine the convergence of technology and collaboration by focusing more on international perspectives. A web-based survey was administered to randomly selected list serve members representing different disciplinary areas. A total of 702 usable responses were received from individuals in 23 different disciplines at institutions in 50 countries. Statistical analyses were conducted such as correlations, Anova and regressions, with the dependent variable focusing on collaboration. The independent variables were the impact of access, disciplinary focus, age, sex, language, income level, skill and training, and institutional characteristics.

The results indicated that access was the most significant predictor of collaboration, followed by the individual's language (with those speaking English as a native language less likely to collaborate), the discipline (with those in the more difficult disciplines more likely to collaborate), experience in using e-mail (those with more experience collaborate more), the number of years in the discipline (the higher the number, the greater the collaboration), and self-rating on skill level (the higher the rating, the greater the collaboration). …

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