A Study of Perceptions, Usability and Future Adoption of a Web-based Learning Tool

A Study of Perceptions, Usability and Future Adoption of a Web-based Learning Tool

Romina L. Bot (Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA), Maria del Rosario Uribe (Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA), Alejandra J. Magana (Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA), Thomas Mustillo (Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA) and John A. Springer (Department of Computer and Information Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/ijtd.2014070105
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Abstract

Studies of technology acceptance suggest that individuals' perceptions of usage might be antecedents to predict their adoption. This research study explored students' and professors' perceptions regarding a web-based tool for political science education; the ultimate goal was to identify students and professors' perceived usefulness and usability and thus their intention to adopt the solution as a learning tool. Forty participants answered a survey questionnaire, and quantitative and qualitative approaches were followed to uncover the relationships between usability principles, innovation attributes, and perceptions of usage. The results of the study provide new insight into the factors that may contribute to the acceptance of the learning tool, and ultimately to its actual use.
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Introduction

The use of information technologies to support learning has rapidly evolved; however, as successfully introducing any information technology innovation is often a difficult task (Prescott, 1995), such innovations must be fully adopted to obtain the expected benefits and performance gains (Agarwal & Prasad, 1998; Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989). Technology acceptance and success have been widely studied as a measure for technology adoption (Lallmahomed et al. 2011, Poelmans et al., 2008), and researchers have generated multiple theories that attempt to explain and predict the manner in which diverse factors impact individuals’ intention to use a specific innovative tool (Raaij & Schepers, 2008, Lallmahomed et al. 2011). Two such theories, the Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DoI) (Rogers, 2003) and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis, 1989), are suitable models for explaining and predicting the user acceptance and adoption of new information systems. A vast amount of research based on these theories supports the idea that user perceptions about usefulness and ease of use are determinants for the acceptance of computational tools (Laderer, Maupin, Sena, & Zhuang, 2000; Lee, Kozar, & Larsen, 2003; Moore & Benbasat, 1991). In addition, several studies indicate that these theories can be applied to the evaluation of future adoption of learning environments and web-based applications with successful results (Corrigan, 2012; Hazen, Sankar, & Jones-Farmer, 2012; Landry, Griffeth, & Hartman, 2006; Park, 2009). When coupled and analyzed together, these two frameworks have the potential to explain the behavioral intention to use a technological tool (Lee, 2011).

On the other hand, the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User-Centered Design (UCD) consider usability as a main aspect in the design and development of effective systems (Corry, Frick, & Hansen, 1997; Sinha, Shahi, & Shankar, 2010). According to Palmer (2002, July) usability is crucial for web site success, and prior research has suggested that usable interfaces might affect user perceptions (Laderer et al., 2000; Landry et al., 2006). However, usability principles are not considered in the TAM and DoI frameworks when trying to explain technology intention to use an e-learning system (Holden & Rada, 2011).

In this research, we explore not only constructs associated with TAM theory (perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) and the DoI theory (compatibility, relative advantage, and complexity), but also usability principles (effectiveness, efficiency, error tolerance, engagement, and ease of learning) to evaluate users’ perceptions about a web-based learning tool used in a Political Science course. We jointly used constructs associated with these frameworks to identify details that may contribute to perceived usefulness and ease of use of the tool, and thus to the behavioral intention to use it in the future.

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