Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Does Technology Acceptance Affect E-Learning in a Non-Technology-Intensive Course?

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Does Technology Acceptance Affect E-Learning in a Non-Technology-Intensive Course?

Article excerpt


Over the past decade, course support software (e.g., Blackboard[R]) and textbook supplemental material have provided university instructors with a variety of e-learning tools that may enhance their instructional and assessment activities. These tools are often used to create a blended learning environment--a learning environment that mixes face-to-face instruction with e-learning tools embedded in course support software such as course material repositories, online quizzing, discussion boards and assignment submission. However, the circumstances under which, and individuals for whom, these tools and techniques are effective are not well-understood. Prior studies have found that negative reactions to technology can adversely impact individuals' performance in technology-intensive courses (Buche et al., 2007; Vician and Davis, 2003; Maurer 1994; May 2008; Schneberger et al., 2007-2008; Weil et al., 1987) where the purpose of technology use is to "learn about technology". Little is known about the effects of individual reactions to technology upon performance in a non-technology-focused course--a course where the purpose of employing technology is to 'learn with technology'. The reduced emphasis on technology in such a course might mitigate the effects of individuals' reactions to technology. Or, individuals' reactions to technology might continue to affect their performance even when technology is less central to the course. The latter case would be troubling since tools that are intended to enhance learning may actually be impairing or impeding it.

Individual reactions to technology are part of the conceptual foundations of technology acceptance research in organizational studies of information technology adoption and diffusion (Davis, 1989; Davis et al., 1989, 1992; Hartwick and Barki, 1994; Venkatesh and Morris, 2000; Venkatesh et al., 2003). Although the current research stream is ultimately interested in performance as a key outcome of use, the antecedent technology acceptance factors (e.g., reactions and intentions) are relevant to understanding how individual reactions might affect performance. From a research perspective, the addition of performance to the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model would extend existing knowledge on the effects of technology acceptance factors to include usage outcomes (Venkatesh, et al., 2003). For practitioners, a technology acceptance model that includes performance could be useful during the decision process when instructors are evaluating whether or not to utilize e-learning tools to supplement learning outcomes.

The objective of this paper is to investigate the extent to which individuals' performance may be affected by their levels of technology acceptance when using e-learning tools in a non-technology-intensive course. We contribute to the literature by providing evidence of an association between individual technology acceptance factors (reactions and intention), individual ability (academic proficiency), and performance in the context of an e-learning environment. This paper is organized into three additional sections. The next section provides the theoretical background and hypotheses for the study. The following sections provide the study's method, analysis, and results. The final sections provide the study limitations along with implications for practice and research.


Acceptance of new technology is critical to the successful implementation of any information system, regardless of whether the intended users operate within a corporate or academic environment. Existing research streams do not directly address the key elements of our investigation and we integrate relevant research from two major areas: technology acceptance and learning performance within e-learning environments.


2.1 Technology Acceptance Research

Technology acceptance research grounded in the Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989) and its successors (Venkatesh and Davis, 2000; Venkatesh et al. …

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