Adapting to technology tools in a learning environment: A case study of first-year students at a traditional African university
Keywords:Technology tools, Learner adoption, Blackboard, Blended learning
The introduction of technology to teaching and learning has brought about modernisation of academic activities. The drastic paradigm shift faced by the education sector is inevitable, especially as the impact of the much-touted Fourth Industrial Revolution is being felt in key sectors of the economy. This reality imposes the need for technology-enhanced learning for tertiary students as it represents the future of the workplace for which they are being prepared at university. For effective learning to take place, institutions need to incorporate technological tools in their teaching and learning. Adapting to a myriad of technology tools can be challenging, especially for less privileged learners who might be adjusting to tertiary life and previously have not been exposed to the basics of computers and other technology tools. This challenge is further compounded by the fact that most of these learners are experiencing the independence of tertiary education for the first time and are still struggling to balance their academic workload with the anxieties of social blending. This paper investigated how first-year students at a traditional, previously disadvantaged university in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa, adapted to Blackboard Learn (also referred to as WiseUP), the learning management system (LMS) adapted for blended learning at the university. The paper explored the challenges faced by the new students and thereafter employed a combination of the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Technology Acceptance Model to build a new model, which reveals the critical factors that influence students to embrace technology. This model will assist lecturers, faculty and student support structures to understand the underpinning factors that influence first-year students to embrace the technology tool, namely, the university’s LMS. Quantitative data collection and analysis were used in the case study, which was conducted with two groups of first-year students in management and information technology courses. Results show the significant factors that influence students’ attitudes positively towards the use of technology for learning.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Olutoyin Olaitan, Nosipho Mavuso
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