Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Development and Validation of a Model to Investigate the Impact of Individual Factors on Instructors' Intention to Use E-Learning Systems

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Development and Validation of a Model to Investigate the Impact of Individual Factors on Instructors' Intention to Use E-Learning Systems

Article excerpt

Introduction

E-learning is becoming an increasingly important part of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) (Ngai, Poon, & Chan, 2007). According to Allen and Seaman (2006), HEIs in the United States have been consistently at the forefront of e-learning course offerings. To offer e-learning courses, HEIs are investing substantial resources to incorporate and maintain the infrastructure of e-learning systems (Levy & Murphy, 2002; Yohon, Zimmerman, & Keeler, 2004). However, instructors' use of e-learning systems in community colleges in the United States is relatively sparse (Nevill & Zimbler, 2006). Changes in instructors' attitude toward e-learning systems have not kept pace with the way that e-learning systems have expanded in HEIs (J. K. Kim & Bonk, 2006; Zywno, 2002). While some instructors accept e-learning systems quickly and use such systems enthusiastically, a large number of instructors seem to lack the intention to accept such systems and continue to resist using them (Naidu, 2004). The resisting instructors far outnumber those who embrace and use e-learning systems (Lammers & Murphy, 2003; Zywno, 2002). The following section includes a review of the literature that outlines the key factors related to instructors' use of e-learning systems. Then, the research model is proposed followed by a review of the methodology used in our study. The results of the research and discussion of these results in the context of their contribution to practice and future research are provided.

Theoretical Background

E-Learning Systems

The concept of e-learning has been around since the early 1990s and is one of the most significant developments in the information technology (IT) industry's contribution to education (Selim, 2007). According to Fuller, Vician, and Brown (2006), researchers have been examining the role of IT as an instruction tool for over three decades. A number of individual characteristics have been identified as significant to the acceptance and subsequent use of IT. Gwebu and Wang (2007) suggested that with their increasing popularity and strategic importance, e-learning systems have received ample attention both from practitioners and scholars. According to Selim (2007), as with all educational endeavors, instructors play a central role in the effectiveness and success of e-learning courses. Consequently, understanding individual determinants in the acceptance of e-learning systems by instructors is highly warranted.

Referring to the definition of e-learning systems given by the Learning Technology Standard Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Ngai et al. (2007) stated that an e-learning system is:

   a learning technology system that uses Web-browsers as the primary
   means of interaction with learners, and Internet or an intranet as
   the primary means of communication among its subsystems and with
   other systems. These systems work as platform to facilitate
   teaching and learning. (p. 252)

Ngai et al. noted that, with the widespread use of the Web, many HEIs are taking the opportunity to develop e-learning courses. As a result, e-learning systems are becoming an increasingly important part of HEIs. Numerous HEIs are now resorting to e-learning systems as teaching and learning tools for enhancing authentic e-learning (Liaw, Huang, & Chen, 2007). According to Mahdizadeh, Biemans, and Mulder (2007), e-learning systems increasingly serve important infrastructural features that enable university instructors to provide students with different representations of knowledge and to enhance interaction between instructors and students and amongst students themselves. Although there have been rapid advances in computer hardware and software capabilities, the problem of underutilized e-learning systems still remains and this underutilization appears to be more acute at community colleges (J. …

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