The Effectiveness of E-Learning Experience in Two Emerging Universities in Saudi Arabia from Instructor and Learner Perspectives

Author: Bader Alojaiman

Alojaiman, Bader, 2018 The Effectiveness of E-Learning Experience in Two Emerging Universities in Saudi Arabia from Instructor and Learner Perspectives, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are widely used in many parts of the world. ICT has proved to be beneficial in various sectors, including the educational sector, where ICT has become very useful as a tool for facilitating a learner’s acquisition of knowledge and improving the learning experience. As it has been proven to play a fundamental role in our education process, the systematic use of ICT is becoming more important in the education sector as e-Learning. The rapidly increasing number of enrolments at two emerging universities in Saudi Arabia has resulted in concern about how to proficiently deliver the best learning experience for learners. In addition, with a shortage of lecturers at these two emerging universities, a strategy must be developed to facilitate the learning requirements of learners. As a result, e-Learning was proposed as a viable solution to this issue.

The aim of this study was to identify the factors that influence the effectiveness of e-Learning at the two emerging universities chosen for this research, as well as to determine the reason for the late adoption of e-Learning at the two emerging universities. As a result, the study developed a structure assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of e-Learning. The study had 5 objectives. The objectives were to discover learners’ perceptions concerning their ability to learn autonomously; to gain an understanding of the current practices of e-Learning; to identify challenges related to learner adoption of e-Learning; to identify, improve and adapt strategies to overcome the challenges associated with learner adoption of e-Learning; and to contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of e-Learning and demonstrate that e-Learning can be made widely available at lower costs than traditional teaching methods.

The research questions focused on evaluating the perceptions of learners and instructors concerning the positive and negative aspects of e-Learning; the requirements and barriers/limitations facing e-Learning, as well as suggestions for improvement; the ability to learn autonomously with e-Learning; and understanding learner interactions with the content, with instructors and among peers.

The two universities chosen for this research were the University of Shaqra and Majmah University. These institutions are amongst the newest universities in Saudi Arabia. Located in rural regions, these universities are currently developing their facilities to cater to the needs of their learners. As these universities are still emerging, the level and quality of available facilities are poor. Moreover, these two emerging universities are seeing exponential learner enrolments, with the rates of enrolment projected to increase. With the large number of entrants, more facilities are required to provide a good learning experience. The literature review presented different models for understanding the effectiveness of e-Learning in higher education. A mixed methods design that combines qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis was utilized in this study. A series of qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted to identify and organise observable facts and explore the topic of interest. The questionnaires were designed to support the findings of the qualitative analysis regarding the research questions. The sample included 238 learners and 10 instructors. Descriptive statistical analysis was used to compare learners’ responses using mean scores and standard deviations. Factor analysis and a structure equation model (SEM) were carried out to analyse the acquired data.

The findings revealed learners’ perspectives concerning the positive and negative aspects of e-Learning and the requirements of and barriers to e-Learning, as well as their suggestions for improving e-Learning. Most of the barriers that were noted included the lack of training programs and financial support, as well as weaknesses of the technical infrastructure. The findings of the SEM showed that learner background has a significant negative relationship with the ability to learn autonomously in e-Learning.

This study concludes with a discussion of the implications, limitations and recommendations of the study. Although the descriptive analysis showed that there was a positive agreement for all of the factors considered by the research, the findings showed that learner background has a significant negative relationship with the ability to learn autonomously using e-Learning. Future directions of the study are also explored at the conclusion of the study. The objectives of the study were achieved, and as a result, the main aim was also achieved.

Keywords: E-Learning of Emerging Universities in KSA

Subject: Computer Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2018
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: Robert Goodwin