Improving the Perception of Technology-Supported Learning Situations: What are the Factors Affecting the Adoption of Technology in Egypt?

Improving the Perception of Technology-Supported Learning Situations: What are the Factors Affecting the Adoption of Technology in Egypt?

Metwaly S. K. Mabed (Suez University, Egypt) and Thomas Köhler (Dresden University of Technology, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4611-7.ch006
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The majority of educational institutes have adopted some kind of technology, especially a Learning Management System (LMS), to facilitate the ways of learning in classrooms. Indeed, the investment in technology with the expectation of fostering learning relies on students’ response toward such technology. Therefore, it is essential not only to predict students’ behavior toward a LMS but also to grasp how students make a decision to use a particular system. This chapter explores the potential factors that have the most significant influence on the adoption of LMSs in Egypt as well as the relationships between these factors. The proposed model extends the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to include self-efficacy and system quality, with the expectation that they significantly shape the use of LMS. The data shows that most of the causal relationships between technology acceptance factors are well supported. The results also indicate that the system quality has a direct effect on perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. One interesting observation is the strong influence of perceived ease of use on LMS usage, much stronger than the influence of perceived usefulness on the use of LMS.
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Nowadays, there are many applications which can be used to deliver, enhance, facilitate, and support learning activities in educational programs. There are several different idioms for such application in the market, for example, content management system (CMS) and learning content management system (LCMS). Furthermore, the terms managed learning environment (MLE), virtual learning environment (VLE), networked learning environment (NLE), web learning environment (WLE), and learning platform (LP) are common to appear in many researches and projects (Sanprasert, 2010). The distinction between these programs is often based on the tools which can be employed either to create contents or to facilitate a specific administrative task. However, the expressions LMS and CMS are utilized more frequently in the United States, while the terms VLE, LP, and MLE are popular in Europe and Asia (Martín-Blas & Serrano-Fernández, 2009; Pina, 2010).

The IEEE Learning and Technology Standard Committee defined a LMS as “a learning technology system that uses web-browsers as the primary means of interaction with learners, and the internet or an intranet as the primary means of communication among its subsystems and with other systems” (as cited in Ngai, Poon, and Chan, 2007, p. 252). From the pedagogical viewpoint, any LMS should have functions (Pina, 2010) (a) to establish content such as syllabus, folder, note, and lesson; (b) to support communication either synchronous or asynchronous; (c) to assess learning through a self-test, quiz, or survey; and (d) to execute an administration task to keep students in track during learning situation. As a consequence, one of the main benefits of exploiting a LMS falls within the scope of allowing participants to distribute information, produce content material, participate in assignments, engage in a discussion, and manage virtual areas (Romero, Ventura, & Garcia, 2008).

There are currently different brands of LMSs on the educational market, for example, Blackboard, OLAT, Moodle, Claroline, ILIAS, and Sakai. Some opinions support the notion that all these systems have common characteristics, as Black, Beck, Dawson, Jinks, and DiPietro (2007, p. 36) claim that the majority of LMSs “are web-based to facilitate anytime, anywhere access to learning content and administration” and tend to distinguish among these systems in the micro details aspects. Nevertheless, the profound analysis of the available systems points out that the existing LMSs are not similar. Concerning the cost, a simple search shows that some systems are open-source software (e.g., OLAT, Moodle, and ILIAS) and others are commercial (e.g., Blackboard). With respect to programming languages, the creation of some LMSs based on the PHP language (e.g., ILIAS and Moodle) and others based on Java application (e.g., OLAT and Sakai). Not only the technical and cost concerns may vary from a LMS to another but the didactical concerns definitely differ also. Coates, James, and Baldwin (2005) indicate that LMSs “are not pedagogically neutral technologies, but rather, through their vary design, they influence and guide teaching. As the systems become more incorporated into everyday academic practices, they will work to shape and even define teachers’ imaginations, expectations and behaviors.” (p. 27). Since some educational institutes have integrated LMS into their educational programs, the benefits of such systems are dependent on the success or failure of using these systems (Pituch & Lee, 2006). Due to the previous variants regarding the positional educational benefits from using these systems, it is becoming more and more important to study the adoption of LMSs.

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