Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Analysis of Student Attitudes towards E-Learning: The Case of Engineering Students in Libya

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Analysis of Student Attitudes towards E-Learning: The Case of Engineering Students in Libya

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many scholars agree that ICTs play an increasingly important role in facilitating the educational processes and systems of today (AL-Hunaiyyan, Al-Huwail, & Al-Sharhan, 2008; Oh & Park, 2009; Vaughan & Garrison, 2006). E-learning has started to emerge in many developing countries where it has the potential to help meet an increasing demand for education and address the growing decline of trained teachers (UNESCO, 2006). The application of e-learning in developing countries has gradually advanced in recent years with an improved availability of Internet connections, local area networks, and IT support (Omidinia, Masrom, & Selamat, 2011; Tedre, Ngubuke, & Kempainnen, 2010; Williams, Mayer, & Minges, 2011). However, other challenges still prevail. In those countries, the active, participative student who is required for interactive learning is rare, and the traditional methods are widely used in teaching and learning (Andersson & Gronlund, 2009; Eastmond, 2000; Evans, 2005; Sehrt, 2003). In addition, the developing countries often lack the ability to implement advanced educational practices on their own (Andersson & Gronlund, 2009).

Student characteristics are regarded as a critical success factor in e-learning in developing countries (Bhuasiri, Xaymoungkhoun, Zo, Rho, & Ciganek, 2012). These characteristics include computer self-efficacy, Internet self-efficacy, computer experience, Internet experience, computer anxiety, and attitudes toward e-learning (Chu & Chu, 2010; Chiu & Wang, 2008; Fuller et al., 2006; Pituch & Lee, 2006; Shih, Munoz, & Sanchez, 2006; Sun et al., 2008). Student attitudes are influenced by the quality and perceived ease of use of e-learning courses, functionality of e-learning platforms, and the level of student computer skills (Aixia &Wang; 2011). Their computer experience including perceived self-efficacy, enjoyment, and usefulness of using e-learning also plays a role (Liaw & Huang, 2011). In turn, positive student attitudes and behaviors towards e-learning are critical to their e-learning readiness and acceptance (Lim, Hong, & Tan, 2008; Selim, 2007).

To inform the prospects of future e-learning initiatives in Libya, a study involving Libyan undergraduate engineering students was conducted in 2011-2013; the study examined the students' experiences and perceptions of e-learning to gauge their acceptance of, and preparedness for, e-learning. Statistical analysis was conducted to assess student attitudes towards e-learning, and to reveal the relationships between their attitudes and their demographic characteristics, access to technology, use of technology for learning, skill in technology, and satisfaction with technology. This paper presents an overview of student attitudes towards ICT and e-learning, it outlines the factors influencing those attitudes, and it discusses the findings of the study.

Related Literature

Student Attitudes towards ICT and E-learning in Developing Countries

Research undertaken in the area of attitude and attitude formation shows that attitudes and beliefs are linked, and attitudes and behaviors are linked; moreover, attitudes are essentially divided into likes and dislikes (Siragusa & Dixon, 2008). With the broad expansion of ICT in education during the last decade, many research studies have explored the attitudes of users (educators and students) towards the integration of ICT in education (Gasaymeh, 2009; Mishra & Panda, 2007; Wen & Shih, 2008).

University students in developing countries have varying attitudes towards e-learning but generally their attitudes are positive (El-Gamal & El-Aziz, 2011). This was emphasised by Nassoura (2012) who pointed out that many students had positive attitudes towards e-learning because it had a positive impact on their motivation as well as self-esteem.

In some developing countries, the learning process and the adherence to traditional practices are inseparable. …

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