Essay on Evaluating E-Learning Success

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 3459

Technical System Quality (TSQ)

E-learning as an educational method has been adopted widely primarily because of its ability to provide educational or training programs to students remotely using Information and Communication Technology(ICT) tools (Al-araibi, Mahrin, & Yusoff, 2019). Many institutions of learning have increasingly adopted e-learning with the objective of taking advantage of this opportunity that it accords to learners. Even as many learning institutions invest in the latest technologies which can support learning, quality is considered to be a major issue for in the contemporary world of academia. As a result, the quality of the technical systems utilized in learning is one of the key success factors when evaluating the efficacy of e-learning.

According to Alla (2013), efficiency of e-learning systems can only be achieved by creating a high level of system quality. Technical systems should not only be able to increase the awareness and understanding of learners but also attract them to their respective education courses. This author posits that the quality of a technical system is the main factor which may increase or decrease the quality of an-learning system. Some of the dimensions which can be used to determine the quality of a technical system include its usability, accessibility, reliability and stability (Alla, 2013).

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From an e-learning perspective system quality can be measured in terms of the hardware available and the software applications intended for interaction with the user. Since the focus of an e-learning system is learning, a successful e-learning system should be characterized with user-friendliness and effectiveness in providing useful feedback to learners (Freeze, Alshare, Lane, & Wen).

The quality of a technical system is also a critical success factor which influences user satisfacton which translates to intention to use (Salloum et al, 2019).The perceived system quality refers to the evaluation of the technical and design aspects an e-learning system by the user. The perceived system quality can therefore be measured in terms of variables such as its flexibility, reliability, response time, its level of sophistication and system speed among others, the implication being that there is a strong positive correlation between technical system quality, and the perceived level of satisfaction and usefulness of the said system during e-learning.

Information Quality (INQ)

Mustafa et al, (2013) consider information quality to be the main factor which increases or decreases the efficiency of any information system, including e-learning systems. Ramayaha, Ahmada, & Lo (2010) on the other hand point out that information quality is one of the six dimensions of system success proposed in the DeLone and McLean ISS model (Hernández, et al., 2013). The authors proceed to define information quality as the extent to which learners perceive the information presented to them to be relevant, timely, accurate and complete. Accuracy is the strongest factor among those that affect the quality of information, followed by accessibility, validity and relevance respectively. Quality of information is important in an e-learning system because of its influence on the online behavior of the users of the system.

Besides, quality of information is an important factor as it influences the perception of the users regarding the usefulness of an e-learning system (Ramayaha, Ahmada, & Lo, 2010). When people feel that an e-learning system is important to them, they are likely to utilize such a system again. On the other hand, if the information provided by an information system such as those utilized for e-learning is vague, erroneous or incomplete, users develop doubts concerning the reliability of that particular information system. Consequently, such doubts lead to the development of behavior that is potentially harmful to academics such as truancy. Such behavior is evidence of reduced intention to use an e-learning system. In contrast when an e-learning system provides high content quality there is an increased intention to engage with the materials available among learners. Information quality is therefore positively correlated with perception and consequently behavioral intentions of the users of an e-learning system.

Service Quality (SRQ)

Available empirical evidence has not seetled what debates as to what constitutes quality of services in many sectors. However, many scholars and practitioners agree that quality of service refers to the diffrence between the expectations of a customer and their actual experience (Pham et al, 2019). Based on their studies, Li & Asimiran (2018) explain that students have high expectations with regard to modern learning equipment. They anticipate to interact with visually appealing facilities and learning materials as well as a comfortable online learning environment.

Martínez-Argüelles and Batalla-Busquets, (2016) conducted a study to analyze the existing relationship between various dimensions of service in an e-learning context, the perceived quality of the service in question andoutcomes such as student satisfaction, and willingness of students to continue studying in an e-learning environment. Having conducted a holistic view of service quality, this study did not only investigate services that involve instruction such as teaching, but also administrative processes and complemenrary services among others. The authors concluded that these dimensions had a significant impact on the student’s perception of service quality. Additionally, the dimension concerning teaching was found to be the most important, from an individual point of view. Nevertheless, the management of non-instructional aspects is also indispensable to improving students’ perception of quality service and consequently loyalty and willness of students to recommend an institution’s e-learning service.

Educational system quality (ESQ)

Currently, quality considered to be one of the major issues facing education, but more so for institutions that instruct learners virtually. The quality of education which is offered through an e-learning system can be defined from various perspectives, among them being technological, pedagogical and economic (Eze et al, 2020). Quality standards can be measured with regard to specific outcomes from the past. According to Llevot-Calvet and Bernad-Cavero (2018), the quality of education being offered by an e-learning system directly impacts user satisfaction and consequently the likeliness of use of the system.

Given this positive relationship between education system quality and user satisfaction necessitates the improvement of education features in the e-learning system. Facilities such as discussion forums, chat rooms and other collaborative learning tools enable users to maximize their use of the learning platform, hence improving their user satisfaction level (Jung, Wong, & Belawati, 2013).

Support System Quality (SUP)

According to Burdescu et al, (2010) there is an increased need for designing and integrating support systems in e-learning domains. The authors propose that these support systems may be fully integrated or they may run as separate services along e-learning systems. In e-learning systems some of the issues for which support may be necessary include provision of an outline of the rules and regulations that need to be followed by users, guidelines and prohibitions related to communication within the e-learning domain among other things. By way of example an e-learning platform should guide learners on how they can access notifications from their instructors, how they can upload their assignments, prohibitions such as plagiarism and related data protection and copyright issues related to their work. Due to the usefulness of such support systems within e-learning platforms, researchers have identified that there is a positive correlation between the quality of support systems and user saftisfaction. This is because these systems improve the perceived usefulness of e-learning systems among users.

Learner Quality

There are many important factors that may influence learning outcomes when e-learning is the mode of instruction being utilized. Available research suggests that individual learners difficulty in learning may be attributed to difficulties within the learners themselves. The intellectual factor is therefore an important consideration that may influence their outcomes when learning online. Generally, learning outcomes in school are significantly impacted by the individual level of intellect of learners. Learners with low intellect often experience difficulties in mastery of academic content. In extreme cases, learners may be unable to learn because of special intellectual difficulties. Low scores in academic subjects can therefore be inferred to impl the existence of a special deficiency. Empirical evidence suggests that individuals have differing intellectual abilities. Therefore, any negative capacity of an individual is of prime importance in determining the effectiveness of learning processes. This implies that the knowledge of any unique challenges that learners may posses is of considerable value in determing the level of guidance they require as well as in the diagnosis of the student’s disability.

However, the individual difficulties expressed by learners when interacting with academic material does not in any way reflect on the usefulness of the systems of learning applied to them. The pedadogical implications of online learning should not measured using students experience difficulties in learning as independent variables. This is because there are various factors that could influence the ultimate outcomes of online learning. Vonderwell and Zachariah (2005), consider learner participation as one of the factors that influence learner outcomes in online studies. The authors consider learner participation as one of the essential elements for active and engaged learning. A study that investigated whether the participation patterns of students such as accesing and contributing to online discussions ultimately influenced their academic achievement concluded that there are different categories of online learners. Workers partcipated proacttively in the learning activities while lurkers participated occasionally. Shirkers performed the bare minimum with few or no visits to the class site. Notably, in online learning learner participation influences the grade weight that is eventually assigned to them. The written nature of these discussions, the course , background knowledge of the learners and instructor interventions are also some of the factors that can influence their participation in the discussions. Given that the participation levels of learners differs from one individual to another, this may also influence their outcomes.

Essentially, the abilities and effort of learners influence their respective outcomes when e-learning systems are the mode of instruction. The individual abilities of learners should therefore not be used to measure the perceived usefulness of an e-learning system. This is because if an effective system is utilized as the mode of instruction for learners that have learning difficulties or those whose level of participation in the required academic activities is below the recommended standard. To that extent, there is no positive relationship between the perceived level of satisfaction and usefulness of an e-learneing system and the quality of learners.

Instructor Quality (INS)

Instructors have a significant contribution to the success of e-learning systems. For many information systems, human agents are an important factor that make the system to run more efficiently (Yengina, Dilek, Karahoca, & Yücel, 2010). The question on whether the role of teachers diminishes with the introduction of e-learning methods has been the subject of discussion since the introduction of this form of learning. Teachers, as facilitators of online classes are necessary because they make key decisions such as when they need to teach any course and how to put any course online with an effective way of engaging students. It is also their responsibility to determine which technologies and tools are available within an institution’s e-learning system for purposes of implementing teaching objectives.

Available evidence suggests that there is a positive correlation between the quality of online instructors and the satisfaction of users as well as the perceived usefulness of e-learning systems (Dhilla, 2017). Various aspects which are related to instructors such as positive attitude, interactive behavior and responsiveness to students are likely to influence the utilization of e-learning systems. For instance, research concerning immediacy behaviors of instructors demonstrates that highly immediate behaviors such as being open to discussions with learners and motivating learners can bring about positive attitude and also increase student satisfaction. Another study revealed that e utilization of an e-learning system. instructor to be missing from the educational dialogue which contributed to their poor perceptions of their online learning experience (Dhilla, 2017). Quality instructors are thus a prerequisite to satisfaction of learners and consequently perceived usefulness of an e-learning system.

Perceived Satisfaction(SAT)

The methods used to assess the effectiveness of e-learning systems have been reported by scholars to be an important issue in both practice and research (Wang, 2003). Learner satisfaction and experiences are crucial elements which can be utilized to gauge the quality and acceptance of e-learning especially in institutions of higher learning. There are various factors which influence learner satisfaction such as; their digital literacy levels, the social and professional engagement, and learner support including appropriate academic guidance and the course design. Students that take online courses often experience learning difficulties that may result from their level of digital literacy, technical issues as well as their conceptual understanding (Lin, 2011). These difficulties, if not properly solved may negatively affect their experience leading to lack of overall satisfaction. Use of various teaching strategies, and peer tutor support are some of the ways in which satisfaction of a user can be improved in the context of e-learning (Weller, 2011). The satisfaction of learners is therefore pegged on the overall quality of service provided and the amount of support they receive during their learning (Rajabalee & Santally, 2020). Consequently, the perceived level of satisfaction positively correlates with students’ benefits.

Perceived Usefulness (USF)

Available evidence suggests that e-learning is positively useful when the instructor is positively engaged and their activities in an e-course result in improved performance for students. The acceptance of the system is a necessary element for measuring the success of information and e-learning systems (Keržič & Aristovnik, 2019). Studies have shown that perceived usefulness of e-learning systems is capable of influencing three constructs; the perceived satisfaction of students, use and benefit to the students.

The efficacy of an e-learning system can therefore be measured both by providers and users by gauging how useful it has been to the users. The general experience of users is what can be used to gauge whether a system can qualify to be useful. For example, a system that enables learners to collaborate and interact effectively with the instructors is likely to result in improved academic outcomes. Also, a system which has multiple support systems to guide students as they undertake their courses is helpful to students. The ease of use and convenience occasioned by an e-learning system such as this is what leads to the conclusion that it is useful.

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System Use

For a long time, education has relied on traditional classroom methods. In the modern world of academia however, use of e-learning systems which is a form of technological-enhanced learning has the potential of bringing about revolution in learning, making quality and cost-effective education available to a larger number of people (Levy, 2006). The key characteristics of e-learning such as the ability to instruct students remotely have enabled e-learning to provide strong competition to the traditional methods of education.

Arkorful and Abaidoo (2015), explain that the adoption of e-learning especially in institutions of higher learning has offers several unique benefits to learners.Given its many benefits it is considered to be one of the most effective method of education.One of the main benefit that has been associated with the use of e-learning systems is their ability to focus on the individual needs of a learner. Another advantage is their flexible nature with regard to the issues of time and place. Students as well as instructors have the luxury of choosing the place and time that suits them (Sinecen, 2018).E-learning also enhances the efficacy of knowledge and qualifications through ease of access to information online. They also provide opportunities for relation between learners and instructors through discussion forums. Through these forums, e-learning eliminates all barriers which hinder participation of learners in academic discussions such as the fear of speaking publicly. On the contrary, this mode of learning motivates students to interact and at the same time respectfully exchange ideas with one another (Robert Ellis, 2013). Also, e-learning is cost-effective in the sense that students and instructors do not need to travel from one place to another. Besides, they offer a platform for learning for many learners without any need for buildings or any other facilities that are requisite in the conventional methods of learning (Bayani, Leiton, & Loaiza, 2017). E-learning also takes into consideration the individual learning needs of users. For example it allows a learner to pace themselves since while some learners would like to concentrate on certain parts of the course others prefer to review the enitire course. Based on these advantages, it can be concluded that the use of e-learning systems is significantly correlated to students’ benefits.


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