Systems Usability in Developing Countries: Case of Computing Use in Guinea

Systems Usability in Developing Countries: Case of Computing Use in Guinea

Maurice Dawson (Department of Information Technology and Management, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA), Damon Walker (University of Missouri - Saint Louis, St. Louis, USA) and Simon Cleveland (City University of Seattle, Seattle, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTRAME.2019010103

Abstract

This article critically analyzes a project executed for the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program which provides technical assistance with volunteers from the United States to farmers, agricultural institutions, and government organizations involved in agriculture such as the Ministry of Agriculture. In Guinea, the focus is on computer literacy as more sectors of agriculture rely on computing technology. These skills range from basic computing tasks such as creating databases to more advanced items such as programming global positional systems. This study looks at findings, based on the analysis of the system usability scale results from a sample of 16 participants. The findings demonstrated that the training proved to be effective for the participants and continued training is necessary. As a result of training, 62.5% of the participants ranked above average, as opposed to 43.6% prior to training.
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Background

The National Agency to Promote Rural Life and Agriculture/Agence Nationale de la Promotion Rurale et du Conseil Agricole (ANPROCA) is the national government Ministry of Agriculture agency of dissemination of information, techniques, and technology. ANPROCA is represented in every region and prefecture in Guinea, as a national extension service provider. The lack of training in new technology and aging of its staff has rendered ANPROCA inefficient and ineffective in troubleshooting and resolving modern agriculture problems, of the farmers and producers that it serves. Even though computers and the internet have become commonplace for many, Fewer than 10% of ANPROCA agents have access to a computer and have a limited understanding of computers’ capabilities. ANPROCA works with the World Bank, the European Union (EU), and much other international development Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to establish a platform for successful agricultural production and development in Guinea.

USAID Assignment

The training program focused on improving to train agriculture trainers and technicians in basic computer skills including familiarizing participants with computer hardware, documents, file classification, and the Internet. The assignment assisted members in amassing knowledge in basic software; specifically, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and the Internet as a research tool. The main tasks assignments were broken into four training modules. The first training module is the introduction to computers which was the understanding of hardware, software, and peripheral systems. The second module was an introduction to desktop classification such as desktop, drives, folders, and different types of storage. The third module was an introduction to office applications. The tasks included document development in Microsoft Word, using Excel for calculations, and presentation creation in PowerPoint. The final module was an introduction to Internet browsers and web applications. The training took place over a 7-day period, with the sixth day consisting of group practice activities. On the final day, the participants delivered PowerPoint presentations based on what they had learned from the training.

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