Effects of Studying Tasks Compatibility with Tablets on Their Acceptance: How Experienced Tasks with Tablets Can Modify Perceptions of Tablets

Effects of Studying Tasks Compatibility with Tablets on Their Acceptance: How Experienced Tasks with Tablets Can Modify Perceptions of Tablets

Franck Amadieu (University of Toulouse, France), Charly Pecoste (University of Toulouse, France), Claudette Mariné (University of Toulouse, France), Cécile van de Leemput (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium) and Colin Lescarret (University of Toulouse, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0125-1.ch014
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This chapter addresses the issue of tablets acceptance for studying. An experiment was carried out to test the effects of specific studying tasks experienced by students with no previous experiences with tablets on the perceived usability and usefulness of tablets. Students had to perform a high-compatible task (i.e. navigation/reading task) and a low-compatible task (i.e. writing task) for tablets. Subjective measures of usability, usefulness and use intention were designed to be more specific to the type of task than the classical measures used in the Technology Acceptance Model approach (Davis, 1989). Participants rated their answers before and after performing the tasks with a tablet. The results showed that the perceived usability and usefulness of tablets increased after the high-compatible task while their decreased with the low-compatible task. The findings stressed the need to consider the real user experience and to use more task-oriented measures to investigate the acceptance of mobile devices for studying.
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Introduction: Context And Goals Of The Chapter

Mobile learning is a crucial issue for technology education, but also for education in general. The development and the diversity of devices (Mobile computers, Tablets, Smartphones, Netbooks, etc.), combined with the rise of Internet, entailed new learning situations including more and more digital information processing. Mobile learning, defined as learning supported or conveyed by a mobile device (Traxler, 2009), may support ubiquitous learning. The use of mobile devices by college students is higher than ever (Margaryan, Littlejohn, & Vojt, 2011; W. H. Wu et al., 2012), which is why empirical and scientific studies should be carried out to determine the efficiency of such mobile devices, and how they are perceived by students.

One of the most widely used mobile devices for learning today are tablets, while PDAs, laptops and mobile phones were the most commonly used between 2000 and 2010 (W. H. Wu et al., 2012). Tablets are mobile devices using screens with digitizers, allowing users to interact with the screen using a stylus or their fingers (multi-touch system). The traditional keyboard and mouse are no longer necessary to use tablets. Their light practical weight, small size and good autonomy make technology education possible both inside the classroom and out (e.g. at a museum). In the educational field, tablets are becoming increasingly commonplace (Falloon, 2015) and are usually expected to support teaching and learning; this implies good acceptance of such innovative tools by teachers and learners alike. As for any other innovation, to be successful, tablets must be accepted by users.

Investigations into the acceptance of tablets contribute to our knowledge of the effects of such mobile devices on studying activities. However, rather than generally assessing acceptance and its closest determinants as is the norm in technology acceptance research (Teo, 2010), this chapter aims to examine how acceptance may depend on the type of task performed with a tablet. Tablets can be used for various study-based tasks (e.g. taking notes, communicating, sharing documents, reading, recording sounds and videos, searching for information, etc.) and acceptance could depend on the type of tasks performed by students. Because acceptance partly relies on usability and usefulness as perceived by users (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989; Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003), a study was carried out to investigate how tasks that are highly and lowly compatible with tablet use may impact users’ judgment concerning the usability and usefulness of such devices, and thereby the tablet’s acceptance. The study was conducted in the field of ergonomics and psychology.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Usefulness: It refers to the extent to which the goals of a task are reached thanks to a system.

Multimedia Document: They are digital documents displaying both verbal and pictorial information.

Mobile Learning: It refers to learning in different contexts enabled by mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.

Technology Acceptance: It occurs when users intend to use or use technology.

Cognitive Demand: Level of memory and attentional resources required to process the task.

Usability: It refers to the level of ease and learnability to use a system.

Tablets: They are mobile devices with multi-touch interaction system.

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