Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Measurement Invariance of the UTAUT Constructs in the Caribbean

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Measurement Invariance of the UTAUT Constructs in the Caribbean

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The increasing use of technology in higher education leads to the increasing importance of educational technology acceptance. This is relevant to the Caribbean region where the use of e-learning systems is accompanied by numerous challenges (Waldron 2009). It is important to identify the variables that influence user acceptance as this can help in ensuring successful delivery of education. In this regard, the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) (Venkatesh et al. 2003) identifies some important factors. The UTAUT model is based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) (Fishbein & Ajzen 1975), and it incorporates components of several other models inclusive of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis 1989) and the modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM2) (Venkatesh & Davis 2000). The UTAUT model has become popular in technology acceptance studies, but such studies focus overwhelmingly on Western (Schepers & Wetzels 2007; Traxler 2007) and Asian countries. The appropriateness of the measurements in these contexts does not guaranteed their validity in the Caribbean region. Furthermore, the Caribbean may themselves differ in their experience with mobile technology and such differences can affect measurement comparability (Li & Kishore 2006). Both the validity and cross-national comparability of the measurements therefore need to be demonstrated rather than assumed.

This paper investigates the validity and comparability of the UTAUT constructs across four Caribbean territories. The constructs are evaluated in the context of mobile learning in higher education. Many definitions of mobile learning are currently in use. However, mobile learning is essentially learning with the aid of mobile technologies. This can occur at anytime and anywhere via mobile devices (El-Hussein & Cronje 2010). This ubiquitous element of mobile learning sets it apart from e-learning in general. Mobile devices are distinct from more traditional technologies such as a computer which requires either a fixed position (desktop) from which access to the internet can be obtained or which facilitates access only at hotspots or other specific areas (laptop) (Jeng et al. 2010). Mobile devices include for example mobile phone, tablets and others which facilitate internet access from anywhere and therefore facilitates more flexibility (El-Hussein & Cronje 2010; Hlodan 2010). In addition to providing new evidence which can guide the use of the UTAUT model in mobile learning adoption in the region, this paper provides results that are relevant to the study of technology adoption in general. They aid determination of the generalizability of the UTAUT measurements outside of the frequently studied contexts and add to the evidence about the cross-national comparability of the measures.

THE UTAUT MODEL

The UTAUT factors are Performance Expectancy (PE), Effort Expectancy (EE), Social Factors (SF), Facilitating Conditions (FC), Behavioural Intention (Bl) and Use Behaviour (UB) (Venkatesh et al. 2003). PE is the extent to which the individuals believe that the technologies improve their performance. EE is the perceived ease of use. SF is the degree to which the respondents believe that significant persons in their lives think that they should use the technologies. FC is the respondents' beliefs about the extent to which organisational and technical infrastructure to support the use of the technologies exist. Bl is the behavioural intention to use the technologies. UB measures the intensity of use. Given the engagement in mobile learning in the Caribbean is voluntary, measuring UB in relation to mobile learning is difficult. As such, UB is not evaluated in this paper.

The items included in the UTAUT instrument are usually adapted for the specific research domain; for example, acceptance of information systems, virtual learning environment, mobile learning in higher education acceptance and use of IT (Al-Gahtani et al. …

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