Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Determinants of Intent to Continue Using Online Learning: A Tale of Two Universities

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Determinants of Intent to Continue Using Online Learning: A Tale of Two Universities

Article excerpt


As more university systems leverage advanced technologies to offer online courses, understanding the drivers of student satisfaction and student learning outcomes has become increasingly important. This particular research investigates a crucial and timely issue on student intent to continue using online learning. Online education in this study is defined as the delivery of course content to students via Internet technology using web-based software. The purpose of this study is to synthesize theories of social motivations with the technology acceptance model to examine student intent to continue using online learning. It is predicted that the perceived social ability will directly influence perceived usefulness and online learning readiness, and that all three of these variables will have direct impacts on student intent to continue using online learning. Variations in these relationships are further investigated by comparing group differences between Korean and U.S. students. A path analysis is employed to decompose correlations into different pieces for interpretation of effects and to examine the connections among perceived social ability, perceived usefulness, online learning readiness, and their effects toward intent to continue using online learning. The hypotheses are tested using data collected via survey from one thousand Korean business students and four hundred U.S. business students in two universities.

Flexibility of time and place for learning may be important benefits of online education. Learning activities can be extended via the Internet and information communication technology without relying on traditional face-to-face classes. Social interaction is an integral condition for learning and such interaction is mediated by technology in the online environment. How students experience the social aspects of online classes, and how they use technology to foster social interaction are important to their success and intent to continue using online learning.

Literature Review

How interaction is related to learning is described in Wenger's (1998) social theory of learning. According to the social theory of learning, students learn by making sense of their experiences. Interaction within community promotes learning. Researchers have explored the social nature of online learning in a variety of ways. These include student perceptions towards sense of presence (Picciano, 2002) and the relationship between students' feelings toward sense of belonging and the amount of social interaction (Rovai, 2002). Social presence, social navigation, and social connectedness are important factors in explaining social interaction in online learning environments (Laffey, Lin, & Lin, 2006). This finding is consistent with previous studies that find positive relationships between social interaction and learning satisfaction in online learning environments (Picciano, 2002; Rovai & Barnum, 2003; Yang, Tsai, Kim, Cho, & Laffey, 2006). Failure to achieve a sense of community and feelings of isolation negatively affect acceptance of online classes and student satisfaction (Vonderwell, 2003).

Perceived Social Ability

Social ability is defined as the degree of an individual's capacity to associate with peers and to use the members and tools of social context to achieve something of value (Laffey et al., 2006). It explains how students experience and perceive social interaction while they communicate with other members and undertake tasks in online learning environments. Social ability was a significant predictor for students' online learning acceptance and satisfaction (Laffey et al., 2006). Students' participation and interaction are somewhat determined by how well the tools support their social needs while achieving their learning goals. Social actions have been examined in online learning environments focusing on the creation and maintenance of virtual learning communities (Riva, 2001). …

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