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

An Integrated Model for Measuring the Impacts of E-Learning on Students' Achievement in Developing Countries

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

An Integrated Model for Measuring the Impacts of E-Learning on Students' Achievement in Developing Countries

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have influenced the landscape of education sector by changing the way various education activities are being conducted. Rapid developments of ICTs have improved access to and efficiency of teaching and learning processes in universities (Lwoga and Komba, 2015), thereby leading to improved students' achievements. This associated academic career achievement provides the promise for meaningful employment of graduates as well as movement towards a knowledge-based economy and rapid national economic growth (Olson et al., 2011). Based on this reason, most governments and universities in developed countries have invested in ICTs, e-learning systems in particular. As such, electronic learning systems (e-learning systems) have become a major phenomenon in recent years (Tossy, 2012) as they transform teacher-centered teaching and learning system into a student-centered one (Truncano, 2005). Further, this transformation enables students to develop their problem-solving abilities; information reasoning and communication skills; improves creativity and other higher orderly-thinking skills (Rosenblit et al., 2005). The system indeed changes the way in which teaching, learning, and administration of education activities are conducted (Tossy, 2012; Lwoga and Komba, 2015); offers efficient use of time and ease sharing of educational materials between students and staff (Shivaraji et al., 2013) and improves the quality of teaching and learning (Kahiigi et al., 2008; Jones, 2011).

Despite these notable attributes of utilisation of e-learning in teaching and learning, its impact on student's achievements remain difficult to measure and open to debate as there are few conclusive statements (Truncano, 2005; Rosenblit and Gros, 2011). Others further argue that there is a contradiction on the conclusion on the impacts of e-learning systems on student's achievement (Hilz et al., 2001; Trancore, 2005). It is also argued that data to support the perceived impact from e-learning technologies are limited and evidence of effectiveness, motivation, usefulness, innovativeness and performance impact are elusive (Eurydice, 2011; Bocconi et al., 2013; Pandolfini, 2016). In developing countries, there is paucity of information about the relationship between e-learning technologies and student's achievement (Rosenblit et al., 2011). There is thus a need to carry out more research, notably to develop useful indicators and methodologies that need to be used in measuring the impact of e-learning in teaching and learning in developing countries including Tanzania in order to guide policy formulation. This is important because developing countries including Tanzania are still at a very basic stage of elearning technology adoption. Tanzania needs to tap into experiences of universities in developed countries that have long experience of using e-learning so as to formulate innovative corrective measures.

E-LEARNING CONCEPT

Wentling et al. (2000:5) define e-learning as: ""The acquisition and use of knowledge distributed and facilitated primarily by electronic means. This form of learning currently depends on networks and computers but will likely evolve into systems consisting of a variety of channels (e.g. Wireless, satellite), and technologies (e.g. Cellular phones, etc.) as they are developed and adopted. E-learning can take the form of courses as well as modules and smaller learning objects. E-learning may incorporate synchronous or asynchronous access and may be distributed geographically with varied limits of time." (Wentling et al., 2000:5).

E-learning captures a wide range of terms (Albert & Mori, 2001) referred to as 'labels' which have been used to describe the concept of e-learning. These labels include, but are not limited to Web Based Learning (WBL), Web Based Instruction (WBI), Web Based Training (WBT), Internet Based Training (IBT), Online Resource Based Learning (ORBL), Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), Tele-Learning (T-L), Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Mobile Learning (M-learning or ML), Nomadic Learning, Off-Site Learning (Collis 1996; Khan, 2005; Yieke, 2005; Bates, 2009; Dam, 2004; Goodear et al. …

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