E-Learning in India: Segmenting Students of a Business School based on their Perception

E-Learning in India: Segmenting Students of a Business School based on their Perception

Deepak Chawla, Himanshu Joshi
DOI: 10.4018/javet.2012100101
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E-learning has become an important tool to impart education. This study examines the awareness and perception of e-learning among Indian students enrolled for a business management course at a premier business school. It is generally perceived that since Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) is universally acknowledged for its quality of education, the awareness and perception about e-learning would be uniform. This could be attributed to factors like a sound educational background and the exposure to information technology. This study attempts to segment the sample based on the student perception towards e-learning. The results show that the level of awareness and the degree of familiarity with e-learning technologies are high. Three student clusters were found, which split the students into those with ‘high motivational & learning propensity’, ‘neutral motivational & learning propensity’ and ‘low motivational & learning propensity.’ These three clusters were labeled as ‘Enthusiastic,’ ‘Pragmatist,’ and ‘Unenthusiastic.’ Further, it was found that the age of students varied significantly within these three clusters.
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Literature Review

What is E-Learning?

E-learning is a broader concept which allows education seekers to learn at their own pace using a wide variety of Information Technology tools such as the computers, Internet, World Wide Web, multimedia, audio and video streaming, virtual classrooms, satellite, audio-video tapes, compact disk etc. For simplicity and for the purpose of this paper, we define the term e-learning as one which uses information technology to facilitate resource sharing and interaction between learner and the instructor. The interaction can be synchronous or asynchronous.

In the past, various studies have referred to the concept of e-learning as online learning or computer based learning. There is confusion among researchers when referring to the term ‘electronic.’ According to Smith (2005), at one end of a spectrum, it can mean merely the occasional exchange of emails between learner and instructor, with no other learning resources or experiences provided in electronic form. At a slightly advanced level, it can mean that learning materials are available to learners electronically for them to read on the screen or for download, but without any communication between instructor and learner. At a much more sophisticated level, it can mean that the learning resources are available electronically, and supported by a groupware system where learners can interact with each other as well as their instructor. According to Biggs (2003), since e-learning can take different forms it brings uncertainties and questions regarding the efficacy of the technology. According to Turney et al. (2009), in some instances, technology is used to provide online access to basic course information and its content. Alternatively, at the other extreme, it may be a fully integrated teaching and learning system. Willson (2008) emphasizes the educational effectiveness of hybrid course delivery such as an e-mail-only university communication, learning management system support for traditional classes, completely online courses, online information resources, and real-time feedback mechanisms in large lectures. It seeks to combine the advantages of technology with the benefits of human contact in the classroom.

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