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An evaluation of the impact of confinement on the quality of e-learning in higher education institutions

Rughoobur-Seetah, Soujata; Hosanoo, Zuberia Aminah

Authors

Soujata Rughoobur-Seetah



Abstract

Purpose
Technology acceptance research in the L&T contexts has a necessity for enabling the significant inclusion of technology in educational settings (Scherer et al., 2019). Despite the propensity for information communication and technology to enhance the teaching and learning process, the acceptance or rejection of learning technology is essential. Technological acceptance model (TAM) has evolved to become a key model to depict the predictors of human behaviour towards prospective rejection or acceptance of technology (Granic and Marangunic, 2019). In their recent systematic review of the extensive literature on TAM, Granic and Marangunic (2019) found that most of TAM research originate from Asia (Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea and China), Europe, North America, Middle East and Africa. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, research on TAM has been very scarce in small island economies. This study aims to guide the empirical model of Al-Fraihat et al. (2020), which wants to uncover the quality of learning by understanding the intentions and satisfaction of tertiary education learners on the acceptance and use of information technology (IT) for e-learning, during the confinement period.

Design/methodology/approach
This study adopted a quantitative approach. The proposed framework was borrowed from Al-Fraihat et al. (2020) and amended based on the contextual aspect of the study. The model proposed by Al-Fraihat et al. (2020) takes into consideration the quality of e-learning through technical system quality, information quality, service quality, educational system quality, support system quality, learner quality and instructor quality. The framework has as the basis the TAM where the perceived satisfaction, perceived usefulness, use and benefits of E-learning have been evaluated. This current study evaluated the quality of the e-learning platform from the students’ perspective in the confinement period. The service quality construct has been broken into three different dimensions, namely, service quality from an IT perspective, service quality from an administration perspective and service quality from the faculty represented by the Head of Departments. Another dimension has been added so as to evaluate the learner’s point of view when studying during confinement, namely, confinement and learning quality.

Findings
The findings of this study did not support H25, that is the hypothesis that perceived usefulness has a positive relationship with perceived satisfaction, in contradiction to similar previous studies that confirmed the relationship (Al-Sabawy et al., 2011; Al-Fraihat et al., 2020). However, interestingly, the findings of this research supported the relationship between perceived satisfaction and benefits (H26). This means that the greater the satisfaction of the learner, the greater the benefits on students. The results of this study further supported that there is a positive relationship between perceived usefulness and benefits (H27); there is a positive relationship between perceived usefulness and use (H28); and finally, there is a positive relationship between use and benefits (H29). Such relationships were also found in the existing literature (Al-Sabawy et al., 2011; Cidral et al., 2018; Al-Fraihat et al., 2020). The perception of the usefulness of the e-learning system determines the benefits, usefulness and system use. When the learners feel that the system is enhancing their learning, learning activities and performance, hence learning more effectively, they tend to see the e-learning system as useful and they are more likely to use the e-learning system/tool. The use of the tool/system, thus positively impacts the benefits that the learners derived from the system.

Originality/value
The COVID-19 and overnight decision for a country-wide lockdown drastically changed the education sector. School and all teaching institutions were closed. However, most universities had to review their teaching and learning models to introduce e-learning to ensure the semester’s progress. Hence, the use of the various LMS tools became a necessity overnight. This study on e-learning in Mauritius uses the TAM as the theoretical foundation because the theory has long been extensively used to investigate the quality of learning eg. Davis (1989), Scherer et al. (2019), Al-Fraihat et al. (2020).

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2021
Publication Date Oct 19, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 2, 2022
Journal Quality Assurance in Education
Print ISSN 0968-4883
Electronic ISSN 0968-4883
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 4
Pages 422-444
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/qae-03-2021-0043
Keywords Higher Education, Technological Acceptance Model (TAM), E-Learning, Quality, COVID-19
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2910464