Technology-rich environments are assuming a key role in the individual learning processes. Still, one of the major IT challenges identified in the education field is to establish e-learning as a credible and viable complement to face-to-face education. This represents a paradigm shift in the way of learning, which is driving changes at individual, process, institutional, and societal levels. However, despite last-decade advances in the application of usability principles in system design, there is still a need to better understand the people-technology fit in learning contexts. Current results, gaps, and issues define the challenges that dictate new requirements. Among these new requirements, minimizing the impact of the distance factor on communication and learning effectiveness calls for alternatives approaches. Due to the importance of communication among instructor and students in learning, the scope of this work focuses on exploring the role of emotions within the user and learning-support technology fit.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Balanced Affective Technology-Supported Learning Environment: A structure that “knows” the learning process, its typical events and recognizes its most likely impact on human behaviors, affective states and learning priorities. The level of balance is a trade-off between technological feasibility and the right degree of emotions, its impact on individual goals, strategies, available resources and characteristics in learning contexts. The expected benefits from affective learning environments are to address specific needs of at-risk online learners. In this way, instructors can define proper intervention strategies to deal with performance problems. This will contribute to productive and satisfactory learning experiences.
Quality of Interaction: The perceived quality level of relationship that learner has about the interplay between actors (human and systems) within technology-supported learning environments.
Quality of Technology-Supported Learning Experience: The perceived quality level that learner has about technology-supported learning experience in terms of organizational, technological, pedagogical, and people issues.
E-Learning System-Instructional Process Fit: Addresses the articulation among learner characteristics, system architecture and usability, learning-design process and methodologies and their interplay with organizational characteristics such as culture, business strategies, work organization, management practices, workforce competency level, working processes, among others.
Affective E-Learning Environment: One in which emotional information is: (a) communicated by the user in a natural, comfortable and reliable way, (b) recognized by the computer, (c) treated ethically and (d) used to help improve the quality of the interaction in learning contexts.
E-Learning System Fit: Covers the articulation between learner characteristics (e.g., background, individual learning preferences, IT skills, goals and priorities, capabilities, motivation) and the technological, pedagogical and physical specificities of the technology-supported learning situation..
Quality of Service: The perceived quality level of the structure that learner has about the involved technical components within technology-supported learning environments.