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Marked by the technology and education systems encroachment, learning management system (LMS) or e-learning becomes a widely established way of learning. This is due to the standardization and flexibility of the educational processes they offer. As part of a national ICT initiative and to cater to the ever-growing requirements for technological means of education, University of Brunei Darussalam (UBD) launched its e-learning system in 2009. Students are increasingly exposed to interactive learning based environment but little is known of their computer capabilities towards the technology acceptance. Therefore, there is a growing need in determining how well these sorts of interactions have been accepted by students in the university.
RESEARCH AIM AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The central intent of this study is to develop and assess a theoretical model that could measure and explain students' acceptance of e-learning in the university and their perceptions of its usefulness and ease of use. To serve this purpose, a widely applied technology acceptance theory by Davis (1989), Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), will be used. In addition, a construct of students' computer self-efficacy will be integrated into TAM to adapt it for the empirical study of the university's e-learning system.
TAM is considered an appropriate theoretical framework because of its unique approach in examining user attitude and its wide applicability in technology acceptance studies. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess how TAM helps to explain students' perception and their computer self-efficacy affecting the usage of implemented e-learning in their learning. The following specific research questions were formulated to achieve the aims of this study:
How do the students' perception of usefulness and ease of use predict and explain students' intention and behaviour for the use of e-learning in their learning?
What is the relationship between students' computer self-efficacy and perceived usefulness of the e-learning system?
What is the relationship between students' computer self-efficacy and perceived ease of use of the e-learning system?
Hence, the research model for this study will be as follow:
Figure 1: Research model of this study
Technology Acceptance Model
The implementation of information technology in the organization has become a major concern to top management who seeks to enhance work efficiency and productivity. The adoption of such technology always involves a high amount of investment and often files to low success rates. As such, this lead to the introduction of Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to respond to the need of investigating the factors related to user's behaviour to accept or reject information technology.
TAM theory was first developed by Davis in 1989. The model was specifically adapted from Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) theory of reasoned action (TRA: Figure 2) that posits that beliefs could influence attitudes, which lead to intention to use and finally actual usage behavior. Davis (1989), in his theory suggests that there are two most critical determinants of individual beliefs about using an information technology: (1) perceived usefulness, and (2) perceived ease of use. He defined perceived usefulness as "the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his/her job performance", while perceived ease of use is about "the degree to which a person believes that using a system would be free of effort" (Davis, 1989). He found that perceived usefulness is the strongest driver to intention to use. Thus, the higher the perceive level of usefulness, the higher the usage performance. This significant relationship was empirically supported by various researchers that implies on e-learning system (Ong, C.S., et al., 2004; Masrom, M., 2007; Hsia and Tseng, 2008; Ramayah, 2010).
Similarly, Davis (1989) also found that individuals are most likely to use technology when they perceived the system is easy to interact and less effort is needed to operate. Thus, the high perceived level of ease of use will increase the perceived of usefulness but this does not guarantee the high usage of such system. Therefore, perceived ease of use is an antecedent factor to usefulness and there are several evidences to show that perceived ease of use will influence perceived usefulness (Ong, C.S., et al., 2004, Hsia and Tseng, 2008).
Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)
Original Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
Extended Technology Acceptance Model (TAM2)
Figure 2: TRA, TAM, TAM2
To further predict the acceptance of information technology, Vankatesh and Davis (2000) extended the TAM called TAM2 (Figure 2) with two new major constructs: social influences and cognitive instrumental processes. Vankatesh and Davis (2000) posit that cognitive instrumental processes are made up of four determinants: job relevance, output quality, result demonstrability and perceived ease of use. Consistent with prior research, TAM2 maintains that perceived usefulness is the strongest predictor of intention to use an information technology while perceived ease of use remains as a significant secondary determinant.
Computer self-efficacy (CSE)
The term self-efficacy was first introduced by Bandura in 1977. He defined self-efficacy as "the belief one has capability to perform a particular behaviour." In other words, it is an individual's conviction in his/her ability to succeed in such a situation. Bandura (1986) further defined the term as:
People's judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but with judgments of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses (p.391).
From the above definition, the principal here is not on the actual skills but the beliefs he/she has of what he/she able to perform with whatever skills he/she possesses. Bandura (1986) further explained the concept into three dimensions: magnitude, strength and generalizability. The magnitude refers to the difficulties level of an activity an individual can attain. Self-efficacy strength refers to the level of conviction about the belief whereas generalizability is the extent to which beliefs are limited to a particular situation. Thus, people who perceive themselves capable to perform certain activities are described as having high in self-efficacy, and are more likely to accomplish these activities and vice versa.
However, a study by Oliver and Shapiro (1993) has stated not to confuse the term self-efficacy with self-esteem. Eventhough both concepts are concerned with the judgment of individuals, there are no direct relationship between one another. They distinguished that self-efficacy was apprehensive with individual capabilities, whereas self-esteem was apprehensive with self-worth.
The term was then extended to the use of information technology, computer self-efficacy (CSE). In this context, the term refers "to a judgment of one's capability to use a computer. It is not concerned with what an individual has done in the past, but rather with judgment of what could be done in the future." In other words, it represents one belief or conviction of his/her ability to accomplish a task using computer technology, rather than reflecting simple component skills (Compeau & Higgins, 1995).
Compeau & Higgins (1995) found that self efficacy play a key role in determining individual feelings and behaviours. Individual's technology usage was influenced by their self-efficacy and people with strong self-efficacy beliefs used computers more often with less computer anxiety. They also pointed out that individuals with high CSE beliefs tend to perceive themselves and display greater confidence to accomplish more difficult tasks using computer technology. Whereas those individuals with low CSE beliefs tend to become more discouraged when working with technology, hence abate to use computers whenever they encounter problems.
This study will employ a survey research method that has been frequently used in research on information technology and computer use. A survey research method is particularly useful collecting primary data that can be used to establish the basis for wider generalization. A questionnaire will be administered to obtain participants' responses to the variables under investigation. The data collected on these variables will then be analyzed using appropriate statistical procedures. The questionnaire administered in this study will be used to test the statistical relationships among the constructs of the research model that underpin this research study: computer self-efficacy.
Questionnaire Design and Ethics
Two versions of survey with the aim to find out respondents perception towards e-learning program will be developed. Printed questionnaire will be designed and pilot tested to 10 previous university students. This is to ensure the questionnaire is feasible and amendment will be made for the actual web collection method. The web version using online software tool SurveyMonkey will be designed to be as close to an exact copy of the validated version as possible.
Web survey is chose to reach the participants efficiently considering that the scheduled data collection will be sometime in June/ July at which the university students are on long vacation. Link to questionnaire will be sent to students' university email and facebook account. Respondents are given three weeks to respond and complete the survey. Physical access to university has been gained from the university's Head of Educational Technology Centre, Mr. Jeremy Philip Brown. In addition, cover letter will also be designed to briefly explain the respondents on the purpose of the study and assured the confidentiality of respondents' identity.
For the purpose of this study, the survey will involve 20 percent of the sample population size with a minimum of 30 respondents. The research participants will consist of full-time registered and enrolled undergraduate students from different programs who will comprise the majority of this study.
Statistical Data Analysis
Assessment and analysis of collected data will involve factor analysis. A well-known statistical package, Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) will be used as a preliminary assessment technique that will extract the number of factors from the questionnaire items. Cronbach's alpha will then be used to assess the reliability of the individual extracted items and the overall measurement model.
PROJECT TIMESCALE AND RESOURCES
Following this is the tentative schedule for this study. To finance and ensure the smoothness of the project, a sum of £100 will be allocated especially on purchasing the online SurveyMonkey tool with no associated travel costs.