FINDING THE CORNERSTONES IN E-LEARNING: THE ROLE OF PERCEIVED COMPETENCE AND ENJOYMENT IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS
Universitat Jaume I (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:On the basis of The Self-Determination Theory, it is important for individuals to feel competent with respect to a behaviour or behavioural domain in order to display optimal motivation, performance, and well-being. So, the perception of competence regarding an activity facilitates people’s goal attainment and also provides them with a sense of need satisfaction from engaging in an activity at which they feel effective. Accordingly, perceived competence in an activity could favour the individual perception of learning in that area. However, this relationship could be reinforced if people enjoy while doing that activity. In fact, enjoyment is considered a good indicator of intrinsic motivation according to the Self-Determination Theory. These considerations are also transferable to those virtual environments where the achievement of an effective learning (i.e., e-learning) becomes a main goal. The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between perceived competence and learning in an activity among students and also to explore the possible moderator role of enjoyment in this relationship, so enhancing this linkage. The sample was composed of university students from Castellón (Spain). They were using the Virtual Interactive Learning Environment and specifically the so-called application Human Site (http://www.humansite.net), in one subject during the past academic year/semester. Students completed a questionnaire about their experiences while using Human Site prior to their exam covering the subject. Confidentiality of their responses was completely guaranteed. We used two subscales from The Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) (e.g., Ryan, 1982; Plant & Ryan, 1985; Ryan, Connell, & Plant, 1990; Deci, Eghrari, Patrick, & Leone, 1994): the perceived competence subscale and the enjoyment subscale. The last one is considered the self-report measure of intrinsic motivation. We also assessed the learning perceived by these students. The results show, as expected, a positive relationship between perceived competence and perceived learning, that is, the perception of being competent in the virtual task resulted in an higher perceived learning. Moreover, enjoyment moderated this relationship: those students who enjoyed while using the e-learning environment in their academic activities, self-reported a higher level of learning in comparison to those ones who showed a lower degree of enjoyment, especially when they felt more competent. Thus, our results reveal the potential of the enjoyment while using virtual environments for academic purposes and also the need to change the e-learning platform interface and focus on enjoying the learning process itself. Future research should be devoted to structural changes in the Human Site for it to become an “edutainment platform”.
Keywords: perceived competence, enjoyment, students virtual learning.