E-Learning in Higher Education: Methods, Tools, and Reality of Uses in the Tunisian Context

E-Learning in Higher Education: Methods, Tools, and Reality of Uses in the Tunisian Context

Emna Ben Romdhane (University of Manouba, Tunisia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4876-0.ch011


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) acceptance research within the field of Information Systems has been limited in its application to higher education. There is a current need to examine utilization of e-learning to improve the success of information system implementation across the higher education sector. This research describes and explains an experience of a teaching centered on the Web, undertaken in Tunisian universities. E-learning is related to three courses for which a platform Web was developed to make it possible for the learners to download the supports of the course, to put their questions to the teachers, etc. First, this work describes the theoretical basis behind the concept of e-learning and the development of a research model; second, it tests the influence of platform characteristics and e-learning usage on learners’ satisfaction. Experimentation was conducted on 241 students and found that perceived ease of use is the most determining factor that influences simultaneously the usage and the satisfaction. The authors also noted that the perceived usefulness of the platform and its perceived compatibility with the needs and the values of learners are important for the active usage of the platform. The results of this study have theoretical and practical applications in the field of e-learning.
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In a context of primacy of the knowledge which seems to go hand in hand with the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), the activities of teaching and training have to be redefined (Issac & Kalika, 2007).

It would seem that the technological change transformed the teaching currents and metamorphosed the ancestral practices of the lecturing, of a concept of package of knowledge to be delivered to that of an environment of training opened permanently (De La Rupelle & Guthrie, 2012).

Based on information and communication technologies, e-learning is expected to improve teaching/learning, distance communication and collaboration (Bernardin, 2011). It is massively implemented both in the educational and the professional environment, especially in universities (Lee, 2007). Several experiences were developed in many countries, including Tunisia which launched in 2002 the virtual university of Tunis (www.uvt.rnu.tn). Its main mission is to develop courses and university education online for Tunisian universities. UVT provides its students professionalizing teaching tailored to the needs of, scientific, economic and social environment, nationally and internationally.

The main objective of this university is to provide training programs in line quality using adapted to new technologies and online education teaching methods of learning.

The Virtual University of Tunis also aims to offer a wide choice of courses and curricula to meet the quality expectations of Tunisian universities:

  • Enhance the production of innovative teaching resources and quality and make them available to a wider audience of teachers and learners;

  • Improve the skills and competences of teachers, students and stakeholders in the use of ICT in learning;

  • Provide support to Tunisian academic institutions to use technology and virtual learning resources;

  • Diversify and expand training opportunities, offer online training quality and innovative diploma, promote vocational courses;

The use of the ICT in teaching/training or e-learning is justified by the many advantages associated with it (Bernardin, 2011). The e-learning is initially regarded as a means allowing an access delocalized to knowledge. Consequently, it can contribute to support a better equity between the areas and the social categories.

Indeed, the professors will act from now in a space without border where the matter is delivered out of time and of space. In network, professors and students will take part in the interactive and multimedia development of a course in real time. Then, the e-learning also has advantages at the economic level since it is possible to consider that its diffusion could make it possible to reduce the costs associated with displacements and accommodation.

Finally the e-learning can constitute an opportunity for the university as regards communication. It is the possibility of making known the university under another angle: that of a innovating, dynamic institution, resolutely turned towards the future.

It is also an efficient way of visibility into external near the general public and partners of the university (Granget and Oueslati, 2003).

However the e-learning will give the advantages discounted only if it is accompanied by the adoption and the use of its tools by the main actors concerned: the learners (Sun et al., 2008; Ramayah and Lee, 2012). The literature review (Fenouillet and Dero, 2006; Bernardin, 2006) shows that the rate of abandon in e-learning is higher than in traditional classes. In addition, the main reason of implementation failure is the lack of learner satisfaction (Malik, 2009).

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